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Dear That Man at the Gas Station with Lobster Hands

by Shannon Adele

I want you
to love me.

I want you
To teach me how to scratch
Lottery tickets and how
Not to win.

I want you
To love me
So much that you hate me.

I want to do
Back flips or at least one
Swan dive into your
Gene pool. Then you can jack
Knife into mine.

But I want
It to be just like when elephants
Stand on really tall platforms
And jump into tiny
Tiny cups. Please.

We are going
To swim in the ocean
Because the ocean is warm
But not warm enough
To solidify the tender
Flesh under your

You’re going
To say something like “Look,
A squid” or octopus or seahorse.
I don’t care. I’ll love all of them.

Man at the gas station with lobster hands
I think that we
Can speak the universal language
Of likelove and you can
Hold me so close
And rub my back forever
With your skin


Posted on 09/18/2007
Copyright © 2020 Shannon Adele

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 09/19/07 at 12:45 AM

I love it all!! - the swan dive into the Gene pool, the jack-knife, the elephants on platforms! There is so much going on in this visually. I also like how you engage this person - "we are going to swim in the ocean" - not "will you?", and you are moving ahead and deciding to act. And the skin mittens just makes me laugh. This is delightful!

Posted by Christina Gleason on 09/20/07 at 02:27 PM

Stanza seven, all the way. "I don't care. I'll love all of them." hits me hard.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 09/22/07 at 02:20 PM

I agree agree agree! Especially with Jon's "authentic playfulness" observation.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 09/22/07 at 02:21 PM

"skin mittens." How totally vivid and original.

Posted by Lauren Singer on 11/11/07 at 06:39 PM

you are my new favorite poet. i envy your frank descriptions.

Posted by Meghan Helmich on 12/04/08 at 06:23 PM

i could see myself, leaning on a bookshelf in borders, reading this poem out of a poetry book. and loving it.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 07/25/10 at 11:12 PM

Great to see this as POTD!

Posted by David Hill on 01/02/11 at 04:16 AM

I like it all, but particularly the skin mittens and the diving elephant. And I can’t help seeing the lobster boy from the freak show. The whole thing is full of visions.

Posted by Meghan Helmich on 11/30/11 at 03:28 PM

Still a great poem. Especially the title!

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