“Condom” by Domenic Scopa

From Spring 2016, Vol. 7

For other poems, see http://www.westtradereview.com/subscription.html


Domenic Scopa is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. His poetry, translations, and fiction have been featured nationally and internationally in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Poetry Quarterly, Belleville Park Pages, Visions International, Cardinal Sins, Misfit Magazine, Poetry Pacific, and many others.

His poem, “Condom” appears in the Spring 2016 edition of West Trade Review.




            for my love



I couldn’t get the condom on tonight,

the latex-free type

lubed to numb,

all the masculinity

of lasting.

My naked frame

flushing redder

than a bit lip

reminded me of my own



I couldn’t get the condom on—

its chokehold

handcuffs memories,

the obscene fingers

of a family friend

all over my body.

I couldn’t get the condom,

the kind you like,

marvelously ribbed

for pleasure, right?

I thought I finally could—


once again,

you let me force you

on your stomach

in front of the full-length mirror.


I couldn’t get it on tonight.

It reminded me

of everything

that hurts-

the dusty light bulb

in the walk-in closet

smoothly swinging back and forth

with the exhilaration of his labor

to restrain me,

to show

how he preferred me


even though he knew

how small I was—

Those smug, smiling eyes.



I couldn’t tonight.

It reminded me

of his thumb and pointer

unraveling the foreskin—

ruined the seduction

of rolling up

your striped stockings.


I couldn’t get the condom on tonight,

because it reminded me

how tolerant you have to be,

a coyote

that will not leave

its car-struck mate

collapsed in the breakdown lane.

And my cruelty,

when you massage my back

to reassure me.


That goddamn condom

betrayed my strength,

the responsibility

I bear

to just forget him,

to just be mindful

of the moment taking its course:

            focus on the kisses,

            the sighs,

            your smell

But I left

thinking how much I love you,

how you must turn my pain

inward. Like me,

you have this sort of pain,


that unused condom

tossed on the carpet—


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