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James Davis May: Hot Sex

They’ve finished lunch and gone upstairs
where they begin making love, the tender
but urgent sex of a married couple
with an empty house for an afternoon.
They kiss, and he caresses her, but soon
she breaks off her soft song of pleasure
to say That’s hot, which he takes as keep going,
but really what she means is that it’s hot
as in burning, and then she asks him,
resigned panic in her voice, Did you
slice one of those serranos into the guac?
He did, he tells her, and then he realizes
the implications, tripping over his apologies,
but she tells him that stopping
makes it worse and pulls him closer
so they’re joined and he feels it too
until they move fast enough, it seems,
to outrun the pain, and they’re laughing
between breaths and moans—laughing at the pain
they know will be there when they stop.

Copyright 2023 James Davis May. From Unusually Grand Ideas (Louisiana State, 2023).

James Davis May is a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing and the author of two poetry collections, Unquiet Things and Unusually Grand Ideas. Originally from Pittsburgh, he now lives in Macon, Georgia, where he directs the creative writing program at Mercer University. He is married to the poet Chelsea Rathburn.

Serrano peppers (Martha’s Produce)

17 comments on “James Davis May: Hot Sex

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    February 16, 2023

    Well, damn. Married love, y’all ☺️


  2. Lisa Zimmerman
    February 16, 2023

    Well, damn. Married love, y’all 😏


  3. Dinah Kudatsky
    February 14, 2023

    Such a perfect Valentine for married love: regularity, heat, and laughter.


  4. Leo
    February 14, 2023



  5. Leo
    February 14, 2023

    Cute! I’ll add peppers to my grocery.


  6. melpacker
    February 14, 2023

    I’m sure more than one of us has to laugh about this without having to explain…..


    • Vox Populi
      February 14, 2023

      Have you been into the peppers again, Mel?


      • melpacker
        February 14, 2023

        As I wrote…..”without having to explain.”……LOL. And I’ll pass on the more than obvious chance to get really obscene about your “get into the peppers again…”


  7. rhass1
    February 14, 2023

    A wonderfully funny and light hearted poem that puts a whole new spin on the noun caspicum.


  8. Sean Sexton
    February 14, 2023

    James and Chelsea will be coming here in April to do a program with David Kirby and Barbara Hamby: “Tying the Knot—When Poets Marry” and so you can see this poem is right along the lines of our theme!
    We’re very pleased to be hosting them all.


    • Vox Populi
      February 14, 2023

      Sounds like a great event, Sean!


      • Sean Sexton
        February 14, 2023

        Oh you bet Michael! I wish I’d said the where and when in my reply. It’s all laid out on line at LRJF.org


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