Coney Island Whitefish

A sticker on the dispenser
in the truck stop men’s room warns
that abstinence and monogamy
are the only safe roads,
but condoms hitch a ride
wherever they can.

New Yorkers call used rubbers
floating in the Atlantic
“Coney Island Whitefish,”
and the foil they come in
turns up on beaches everywhere
in swirled indentations of sand.

Prophylactics are willing
to protect smugglers
by sliding through tunnels
of the digestive tract
bearing cargoes of cocaine
and other kinds of death.

They sweat and squirm
in wallets, wait patiently
in purses, sleep in sock drawers
and nightstands, always ready
to hold back a life
or save one.

about the author
David Lee Garrison started writing poetry as a sophomore in high school as a way of dealing with adolescent lust and angst. He hasn’t gotten over those feelings, and still writes poems about high school, even though he will be attending his fiftieth reunion in 2013. “My main goal as a poet is to communicate, so my poems are not hard to understand with a first reading. In all of them, however, I try to achieve a depth that invites a second or third reading as well.” David’s book of poems, Playing Bach in the DC Metro (Browser Books Publishing), is now available at