To what measure of torture
would I submit for her
to hear just one
of my poems?
agreeing to the
of my leg will I renege
when surgeon’s teeth
I’ve bitten through
the leather strap and
thrown the whiskey up.
The only lines I recall
are from a limerick,
There once was a beautiful
whose torso had filled up with
. . .
This is my bedroom, but these glowing buttons
are not my bed. Barrel-bellied puppies tug-of-war
with my intestines. I make myself mimic the squealing.
Outside the window is night that feels like 2 a.m.
with blank faces intermittently appearing through the panes.
I’m begging for one of them, please, to bring another pill but
my throat is prickly dry, my voice barely a quiet croaking.
The thing I liked was ice-chips. The gravel sound of a spoon
digging down, soothing. They’d glide around my mouth on their
own melt. I try to think when the pain wasn’t braided in me,
cleavering my breath. I don’t complain that they never bring the pill
soon enough. I think to ask them how they’d like it. An I.V. is rumored
to be set up soon. I ask where. They answer, by the bookshelf. I ask what for.
I recall the vague, wet movement of a mouth, but not the sound of an answer.
These two poems have now been collected in Dead Girl Dancing, which can be purchased here.
Mike L. Nichols is a graduate of Idaho State University and a recipient of the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. He lives and writes in Eastern Idaho. Look for his poetry in Rogue Agent, Tattoo Highway, Ink&Nebula, Plainsongs Magazine, and elsewhere. Find more at deadgirldancing.net