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POETRY / Balls Deep / Jill McDonough


She should just have a balls-out good time 
, I hear myself saying to my

grad students, probably about somebody sad, 
their idea of Sylvia Plath.  So I begin to see that

my relationship to rhetorical genitalia may
have taken a turn.  Thanks, bars.  Thanks, 

Boston. Balls out, balls deep, I look ballin’
I hear a bride brag at the fancy nail salon.

Powerball: my nickname in college. Balls deep, rock 
out with your cock out, balls out. None of these cocks 

or balls are real; they are ours, to use whenever 
we want.  It’s like a bomb went off up there, the doctor 

says after her hysterectomy, humbled, sheepish 
she’s been telling patients no big deal for years. That shit’s 

real. Also Elena Ferrante’s books, how some people scoff,
think she must be a dude.  But carrying everything off in clots

of menstrual blood? I’m not buying it, don’t believe dudes go in 
for the clots. Elena Ferrante: balls deep in lady shit.  

At a poetry festival I introduce a table of grandparent-age poets
to the phrase "suck a bag of dicks." Did they love it?  You know it.

But what does it mean,we’re balls deep? Are we waders
in treacherous, croc-infested, crotch-high waters?  

Or up to the hilt, tip to nuts in someone else’s crotch? 
Who knows. But we’re in it to win it.  In it, with no way out.  

Jill McDonough is the author of three books, available on Amazon: