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Tiger Balm Won't Help by Alison Daniel
published in Volume 9, Issue 5 on December 6th, 2002

Every time he's photographed, he's pinned up.
It pays another bill or buys something top-shelf.
Depending on the mood, he drinks tequila,
gets a hard-on, then its vodka slammed straight.
The finest silk covers his body and he knows
immunity is not naked skin scratched with penknives
by impossible lovers into young and beautiful trees.
In autumn, they bend fantasies tossed on mattresses
used by someone else. The beds smell masculine
and distinct, like damp armpits after bench pressing
at the gym. With an abdominal six-pack, muscled
arms and back, he's a classic Adonis before the chase
feels like a promise to be discreet, before casual flings
and one night stands arrange themselves in a frame,
or a flame. If he ever saw those stranger's eyes, wider
than his beef-cake fame, he'd know Tiger Balm
won't help. The rub is deeper. It lasts longer.
It has a different animal smell.

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