Amanda Leigh Rogers


Amanda Leigh Rogers lives in Abington, Pennsylvania with her husband and three sons and teaches at Bryn Athyn College. She is interested in poetry as both spiritual practice and artistic endeavor. Her work has recently appeared in The Chrysalis Reader, Contrary Magazine, Other Poetry, The Mindful Word; Ruminate, and Tipton Poetry Journal. She received the Hopwood Award for major poetry from the University of Michigan.

The Safest Sex Is Absence

I write you from imaginary Spain
where the sparkle on the sea pulses a code.
I think it is from you, but how to tell?
Philadelphia’s imaginary here.
The rarely changing news from Spain is still
the same. The fragrant oleander blooms.
Some melody froths forth from some guitar.
Blue horses graze on grassy hills above
the cryptic sea. I haven’t heard your voice
in days. I haven’t tasted Philly’s thick
exhausted streets in years. I haven’t cleaned
the closet since we bought the house. Your Spain’s
so far from mine, it might be Machu Picchu
or California where the trees are prayers.
I’ll roll this in a bottle once again
and toss it to the glitter. I will flash
it on the surface til you see.
SOS! This stupid Spain is sinking,
and I’m too weak to swim to Philadelphia.

The title ‘The Safest Sex Is Absence’ comes from a Richard Lederer essay in which he collects humorous misstatements from student papers. The sentence got me thinking about the way people protect themselves from vulnerability by cultivating psychic distance from loved ones, often without realizing they are doing it, and how hard it is to work against a habit of isolation within a marriage. I'm someone who fantasizes about exotic vacations in sunny places frequently, but I spend most of my time in Philadelphia, which is actually a wonderful city.