The Woman in the Viagra Commercial

She is meant to make men feel like having sex:
a flower in her hair, idle in a tree house
in some distant, tropical paradise where men get
and keep an erection. When she speaks she barely

moves her face and afterwards she saunters
through an evening in which she is giddy and flirtatious,
lounging in a dress that clings. The woman in the commercial
is supposed to make men more comfortable talking

to their doctors about Viagra, though she also mentions
the possibility that the pill will cause them to lose
their hearing or vision, the chance that their erection
will never cease and they will end up in

an emergency room, their excitement clinically ridiculous.
Crickets sing in the Viagra commercial and the treehouse
is too beautiful for children though it reminds me
of the summers when I climbed into a leafy green

canopy and forgot the world below, summers
when I refused to descend though the night
deepened. The commercial makes me
sad for men and women, for the way women stand

around in short skirts, with blossoms in their hair,
the way men get old and find themselves
in need of a pill, or at least contemplating one,
in the thickening foliage of time, sad for the way

sex becomes another kind of medical emergency,
another reason to talk to your doctor.

by Faith Shearin

Read more Parody


Faith Shearin is the author of The Owl Question (May Swenson Award); The Empty House (Word Press); Moving the Piano (SFA University Press); Telling the Bees (SFA University Press); and Orpheus, Turning (Broadkill River Press). She lives with her husband, her daughter, and a small, opinionated dachshund, in a cabin on top of a mountain in West Virginia.