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Portugal visto por escritores estrangeiros

On the Sex Lives of European Kings

by Kathleen Willard


Darling,

it’s complicated, these arranged royal marriages

with the age and language barriers, her long vowels

of Portuguese slapped into line by his guttural German.

She barely menstruating and his face nearly prehistoric,

pock marked with the fault lines of aging.

 

Nothing was certain except for syphilis,

not even an heir. 

Families pimped

out their beautiful daughters untutored

as to what lurked under silk britches,

the bride-to-be strip searched 

before being presented to court,

and any possible détente

dependent on boudoirs and bed sheets.

 

Oh honey,

I’ll take the pleasures under your ermine cloak

any day over the obligation,

a twice weekly sex romp

by royal decree, when the king of Portugal

paraded past courtiers for relations

with a wife so detested her rooms

could have been in India.

 

Ceremoniously, they undressed

to white undergarments covering every centimeter

of skin save a cutout embellished

with a red crucifix blessing

where his royal member briefly entered.

 

Not me, no thank you,

I would never relinquish

the feel of your skin,

your body caressing me like those riotous

morning glories conquering

the fields outside Lisbon,

or how we taste like ripe figs,

or the creamy pasteis de natas

I have been gorging on

while in Portugal without you.

 

by Kathleen Willard


Kathleen Willard, MA Middlebury College, MFA Colorado State University, remembers her attendance at The Disquiet International Literary Program as a defining moment in her writing life.  Forty of her poems have appeared in  literary magazines and anthologies including: Bombay Gin, Matter, Proud to Be, and Landscape and Place. Her awards include a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to travel and write in India, attendance at Vermont Studio Center twice, the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference twice, and her poem “Theory of Flight, Circa 1704” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, published in The Progenitor and won the ACC Writer's Studio Prize.

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