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(20 September 1928 - / Hamden / Connecticut)

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Safe Sex

If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident
they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;

if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire
only the tribute of another's cry; if they employ each other

as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—
then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,

no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,
no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated

apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond's edge

Submitted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Edited: Friday, March 16, 2012


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Comments about this poem (The Man In The Dead Machine by Donald Hall )

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  • Martin O'Neill (3/16/2012 9:05:00 AM)

    An interesting take on an oft used phrase. I love the way poets see different levels and aspects of language.
    I may never hear this expression in quite the same way again. Thank you.

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