my nipples start to tighten and pucker
as if they have just been kissed and are now
a little slick and exposed to the cool air.

It’s moments like this that I like what I’m getting
paid to do. When all the students want to know
what the formal requirements for the project are

and all I want to talk about is why nipples
are so weird. I can’t even remember the last
time they pinched themselves or how good it felt.

Do you ever think about how much of our body
likes to be outside itself? How hard it wants
its short dance to be noticed. Why do we only
experiment in science class? I want to ask.

But that is a dangerous question for a man
to ask children, even if he only means
to have them wonder, could it be the light
breeze from the window or the tastiness
of a perfectly ripe banana, or simply

the mundane task of living a pleasurable life–
what is it exactly that has bunched me up
into these persistent but otherwise
useless nodes of recognition and now joy.