Sam Herschel Wein


Today, the Begonias

Sam Herschel Wein

It is not impossible to find flowers that smell
like the laundry detergent
you grew up with. It is not impossible
to sit in a small,
lush park
in New York as you write about your sadness.
It is not impossible to feel
this sad. To be this
let down
by a person you thought could be ten
thousand botanical
acres of warm rainforests.
Oak benches have
back support.
should be everywhere.
I feel maybe a little bit heartbroken in
New York.
In this springtime park,
a preschool class wanders in neon vests,
exclusively in French.
You think, in middle school, French class
the only part of the day
you felt
listened to, the only teacher curious
why you cried,
that you were tormented. You think, as a kid,
you trampled
your grandmother’s sprouting pink
and she thought they’d never,
ever grow back.
How she yelled. How, the next week,
they recovered.
The preschool class slows. The teachers
pass out little
clumps of bread. They hover
above the pond with a baby waterfall, feeding
the fish.

space break

Wearing a jockstrap to see Rent on the last night of my lover’s stay in Chicago

and he sings through the whole performance,
except for the scenes where he can’t form words due
to excessive crying, and I rub
his legs, his arms, letting
him know I am here for him, in my jockstrap. I think
about sex, and how, with him crying
for the eleventh time, we probably won’t be having it,

though it’s his last night here, tomorrow
a plane away, and he still has one final
to finish, one paper to write, some grading due so
we get a piece of pie from the Target,
I get in his bed, he’s typing
furiously at his desk, my ass peaks out
of my rust red jeans so I pull them down to my
ankles, butt plump from the strap,

waiting for him to notice, but he
doesn’t, he’s focused, I get bored and forget
my butt’s out, drift to sleep
but I wake up, he, kissing me, on my ass, little
pecks, he’s singing, just pay me back /
with ten thousand kisses /
be my lover / and I’ll cover you

and we kiss, then, holding one another, I
don’t know the time, I don’t know
what we’ll do for our last hours together, but I make
sure to tell him, hey, we don’t have to
have sex, we don’t have to
do anything, I just need you to know, before you
leave, that you helped me

overcome my sexual fears, the long-term
trauma still held from all
my assaults, all the years I couldn’t have sex without
an anxiety attack, or zoning out,
allowing, again, things to go farther than
I wanted, and you, lover, you
worked through that, with me, the boy in your bed

with his ass in the air, saying hello, saying,
I am a fresh forest, I can be burrowed
deep into, every morning we have left, I need
you to know, I’m happy, finally, when the sun comes
up, when the cheeks shine, glimmering.

Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) lives in Chicago and specializes in perpetual frolicking. Their second chapbook, Gesundheit!, a collaboration with Chen Chen, is part of the 2019-2020 Glass Poetry Chapbook series. He co-founded and runs Underblong Journal. Recent work can be found in The Indianapolis Review, Bat City Review, and Connotation Press, among others. See who they’re hugging at