Suellen Wedmore
When I Haven't Been Kissed

for a long time, I go to the mall in the morning, when retired men in sweats & run-down sneakers squeak through the halls, pausing in front of Victoria's Secret to scrutinize the lingerie, racing past the mannequins in suits & ties as if that part of their lives had never existed, & when I drop my handbag in front of the man with hair tinted a young brown & he stoops to pick it up, I imagine him at my high school prom, carnation in his buttonhole, & I reach for his hand, callused but warm & inhale his Starbucks' breath until my lungs expand with Italian Roast gratitude. I think a male tarantula is one of the most romantic creatures, risking his life crossing roads & fields in broad daylight in search of a mate. Dancing amorously at her burrow. —after Jeffrey McDaniel

Poet Laureate emerita for the small seaside town of Rockport, Massachusetts, Suellen Wedmore retired from working as a speech and language therapist to enter the M.F.A. program in poetry at New England College, graduating in 2004. Her work has appeared in Apalachee Review, The Chaffin Journal, Cimarron Review, Eclipse, Green Mountains Review, Harvard Review, The Ledge, The MacGuffin, Manorborn, Oyez Review, Phoebe, Poem, and many others. Her chapbook Deployed won first place in the Grayson Books annual contest, and her chapbook On Marriage and Other Parallel Universes was published by Finishing Line Press. She won first place in the Writer's Digest rhyming poetry contest, was an international winner in the 2006 Atlanta Review poetry contest, and recently two of her poems were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. (