Sex After 70

by Naomi Beth Wakan

I sit across

from my publisher

who cuddles his coffee

and explodes with “What!”

“I’m writing a book on haiku,”

I repeat calmly.

“On haiku!” his face a-red.

“Why can’t you write

something people want to read

like ‘Fishing on the West Coast’?”

“Or Sex after 70,” I counter.

“Yes, Sex after 70,”

his eyes switch from

exasperated to hopeful,

“Now there’s a promising title!”

We both fall silent.

I imagine he is weighing up

the odds of me being informed

on the subject, while I

do a quick survey of

a possible table of contents.

Sex and osteoarthritis—

the joints locking

in positions unheard of

in the Kama Sutra.

Choices—orgasm or muscle cramp;

whether to allow myself

the pleasure of orgasm

or go into the pain

of a concurrent foot cramp.

Whether to focus on the vagina

and the blissful dissolving

or the foot and get that spasm

dealt with and those

toes straightened out.

Decisions, decisions and

before I know it I am

thinking of nouns . . .

those nouns of haiku

and how each noun

condenses a universe

and packs a wallop,

and how two, or three nouns

together, if carefully chosen,

can tumble you into the void

and to universes beyond,

and how the pause, the pause

at the 5th or 12th syllable

opens so many possibilities

to dwarf all orgasms, or cramps

come to that, and transforms

dark crows on bare branches

into cockatoos on plum blossom.

“I’m writing the book on haiku,”

I firmly address my publisher

across the steam of his coffee.

He sighs, takes a sip and asks,

“When’s the first draft ready?”

This poem first appeared in Sex After 70 and Other Poems (Toronto: Bevalia Press, 2010). To learn more about Naomi and her many wonderful books, please visit her website. You can listen to Naomi Wakan reading this poem on CKGI radio, starting at around the 18:00-minute mark.