Eugene Stevenson

Fuchsia & Tan Lines

Advert to the world, the happy couple posts
their fourth of July portrait, casual, as are they.
Smiles more natural to her than him, but on
this occasion, he scores points for an easy grin.

He is tall, thick haired, large boned, blond.
Once a campus-hailed Greek God who got
careless & so got married earlier than he
thought he would, but was game & in charge.

His first bride, tall, dark-haired, full-breasted,
a stone-white Greek statue off her pedestal &
making a life as best she could, wrapped in
the arms of her hero, her champion, her bane.

This second bride, tall, dark-haired, full-breasted,
a Greek statue in motion as if running the first
marathon, with her piercing eyes fierce in their
independence. She resembles her predecessor.

Like her predecessor, she is proud of her fine body,
& at his insistence, displays her pendulous breasts,
her long, graceful legs, her blinding smile, her
glistening dark eyes, to gather sidelong glances.

They live the island life. He in his tee-shirts &
running shoes, she in her tank tops & flipflops.
Today, he is formal, black tee-shirt with bold
island logo & grey shorts, just short of ironed.

After a minute of looking at the photograph,
he begins to fade into the concrete, dark teak
door & window frames, while she leaps out from
the picture in fuchsia top & washed denim skirt.

She is iridescent, silken, shimmering in the sun,
wrapped in neon around breasts poised to
reveal their soft white undersides & hard dark
nipples should a gust of wind announce itself.

After minutes of staring at the photograph,
her top transforms to Fuchsia splendens, sweet on
the tongue that hungrily laps citrus & black pepper,
that suddenly lingers over her slivered tan lines


A languid afternoon, late summer,
one hour after a late lunch,
long enough to no longer feel full,
feel any discomfort from a menu
consumed as if he were two.

He notices, the quiet stirring,
making itself felt in the body
remote from its origin, far from
the idea he had begun to hatch
that he was tired, needed a nap.

His first choice, the good one,
is to walk outside to his studio,
to his work, to his labors of love,
the mating of concepts & words,
an obsession rekindled years ago.

His second choice, questionable,
is to feign fatigue, delude himself,
head for the bedroom with the quilt
under his arm, toss it on the bed as
he strips off his clothes in a heap.

Naked in the chill, he takes corners
to flip in the air, the stirring becomes
a rush & as he covers himself, his old,
worn body, feels the cloth touch him,
here, there, before thought vanishes.

His eyes close, he feels her fingers as
they stitch pieces into pattern, the
squares inset with circles of different
designs, he feels her hand smoothing
the soft interlining, looking, inspecting.

Feeling turns into seeing, her hands,
her fingers on his chest, on his thighs,
on the very center of him with the
piecework rippling with movement,
with a gasp from her, gasp from him.

Happy playing under the Playground
as he was happy, once upon a time,
playing on the playground, he thinks
how twisted the twists & turns of
making a quilt, a life, patchwork.

You Wear What You Took From Me

You wear what you took from me,
you wear what I gave you:
Buenos Aires, Rome, Venice, London,
Dublin, Dingle, Amsterdam, Paris, Nice,
Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Faro,
Athens, Istanbul, Basseterre, Ocho Rios,
Playa del Carmen, Vancouver, New York,
Chicago, Atlanta, six homes we lived in.

You keep what you took from me,
you keep what I gave you:
plane tickets, hotel suites, balcony cabins,
bento box appetizers, white linen dinners,
New Year’s champagne in the Rainbow Room,
moonlight dinner on the Bateaux Mouche,
diamond ring to start, turquoise ring to end,
dangling earrings too many to count.

You drink what you took from me,
you drink what I gave you:
seven seas of beer, Quilmes, Peroni,
Moretti, Fuller’s, Sharp’s, Guinness, Harp,
Heineken, Grolsch, Kronenbourg, Steigl,
San Miguel, Estrella, Sagres, Mythos, Efes,
Carib, Red Stripe, Modelo, Stella, Labatt,
Michelob, & five great lakes of wine.

You wear what you took from me,
you wear what I gave you, long after parting:
black fishnet stockings that kiss your long legs,
sheer black halter top that hugs your lovely breasts,
black g-string that hides, parts, your soft labia,
curves under your tender perineum &
rises to stretch over your welcoming anus,
the sheer black robe that wraps you like a gift.


Eugene Stevenson, son of immigrants, father of expatriates, is author of The Population of Dreams (Finishing Line Press, 2022). His poems appear in Atlanta Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Delta Poetry Review, San Antonio Review, Red Ogre Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, & were nominated in 2021 & 2022 for the Pushcart Prize. More at

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