Vince Gotera


Two scars on the back of my right hand,
shaped like a slim vulva and a fat phallus.

The first scar lies in the valley between
my ring finger and my finger finger.
Spread those fingers like two legs and

become Mr. Spock: “live long and prosper.”
Or a woman’s legs poised in childbirth.

I’ve forgotten how I got this scar—
something about a friend’s penknife.
Seventh grade. Did my hand block a slash?

The second scar mirrors Japan,
nestled among blue currents of vein.

I distinctly remember the story
of this healed wound, pale against
brown skin. High school. A ragged

group of rock ’n’ rollers on break
from band practice, outside for a smoke.

Our drummer, Terry, zinged a stone at me,
some nondescript pebble. Just for fun.
The rock was glass, jagged and crystalline.

Oozing red, I strode back into the music,
bloodied hand spidering out Santana riffs.

These two scars, female and male, live separate
lives on the back of my hand. But some time
when I lie down beneath green pastures,

my skin will pucker, crimp. And these lovers,
this yoni and lingam, will finally—gently—kiss.

Vince Gotera is Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review. In August 2017, he will become Editor of Star*Line, print journal of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. Recent work in The American Journal of Poetry, Parody Poetry Journal, Altered Reality Magazine, Eunoia Review and Silver Birch Press. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.


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