Condom by Neil Carpathios

It lies on the sidewalk
having done its job,
no doubt filled with galaxies
of dead sperm.

I walk past as a little boy
points and asks his mother
what that is.

She says never mind,
tugs him hard.
But I wonder what I’d say:

"midden" (photo by Flickr user Jonathan Warner)

A snake’s shed skin?
A deflated worm?
A surgical glove’s one finger?

No.

It’s a magical bag for catching pleasure—

left behind by a tiny troll
who slung it over his shoulder,
who dumped out the treasure
but left the sack.
Who never stops searching for more
hidden inside wondrous caves.


Neil Carpathios is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Playground of Flesh (Main Street Rag Press), At the Axis of Imponderables (winner of the Quercus Review Press Book Award), and Beyond the Bones (FutureCycle Press). He teaches and is Director of Creative Writing at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.