Kenneth Rosen

Sandlot Egypt

Ah, the wonderful culture of patriarchal subversion
Practiced by peasant women the world over,
Tales of unearthing yams that recalled the organs
Of departed spouses because caked with earth:
"He wasn't that big, but that dirty!" Or belittles
The dictator concerned with a mistress's diminutive
Breast: "With a prick so small, how do you fuck

All of Egypt?" Or Bulgaria, whatever. The bridegroom
Seeking the purest virgin told, after exposing his tool
To his fiftieth potential wife, that what she saw
Was a whistle. Fifty years later she explained—
Him so fatuous as to query her innocence—
By displaying the length of her naked arm: "This
Is a penis. What you showed me was a whistle."


* * * * * * *


(Dictator joke depends on the purported retort of Indira Ghandi when asked
"Indira my darling, with a breast so small, how do you feed all of India?")

Kenneth Rosen is a widely published American poet with a profound interest in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He has taught modern literature and lectured on American poetry in Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt. His books of poetry include Whole Horse, No Snake, No Paradise and most recently, The Origins of Tragedy, published by CavanKerry Press. His work appears regularly in The Paris Review. He lives in Portland, Maine and is Professor of English at the University of Southern Maine.