Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Leslie McGrath: Bitterness in the Mouth

When did the word

for stranger and

bitterness in the mouth

come to mean

a kind of audacity?

I’ve seen in some

men a distinctly

American gall–

they glide over

the rest of us

in their socks like

we’re one long hallway

and they’re late

for a banquet in

their honor. Shameless

they tell us they’ve done us

a favor. We needed

polishing. They needed

traction. Frotteurs

work like this—

we come away wondering

if we’ve been

screwed, gorge rising

as a hard little stranger

gets off.


Frotteura person who rubs against another person’s body for sexual gratification in a public place.


Copyright 2017 Leslie McGrath

First published in The Awl. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

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This entry was posted on October 30, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .
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