Nin Andrews

The Last Orgasm
September 5, 2015 Andrews Nin

The Last Orgasm

after Mark Strand’s “Fiction”


Sometimes I think of the innocent lives
of orgasms, of how they know
they will die
but not exactly how.
Like prisoners of war
before a firing squad,
I imagine them lining up happily
for their end.

How different they are
from the man and the woman
on this night when snow is falling
on the sleeping town of Poland, Ohio
and an icy wind seeps under their doors
and through their many cracks.

The woman—namely me—cannot sleep.
She gets up to riffle the pages of a book
she is writing, knowing there used to be
so much time to decide
what would happen next.
There used to be whole life times ahead
for the man and the women to live on and on
in her imagination like the king
and queen of an interior countryside,
waging occasional wars, carrying away the wounded.

But now even warfare has come to a close.
They are peaceful, happy even, except
for a presence so hard to define
of what could be the last lovely orgasms, there
in her margins, lettering their way onto the pages
and letting her know, as only orgasms can,
that she shouldn’t worry—the end will come
when it does, and then it will pass,
and then it will come again.

Nin Andrews’ poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry. The author of seven chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, she has won two Ohio individual artist grants, the Pearl Chapbook Contest, the Kent State University chapbook contest, the Gerald Cable Poetry Award, and the Ohioana 2016 Award for poetry. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux, called Someone Wants to Steal My Name. Her book, The Last Orgasm, was published by Etruscan Press in 2020.