She wants me to calibrate against
the wing-beat of searing fluorescents,
the examining room bright
with her skeptical forbearance.

I tell her since I’ve never been flayed
or broken on the wheel, we can agree
that 10 is right out. I am tempted
to claim 9, but know she will scoff

at even a metaphoric dip
into that simmering lagoon. Listen doc,
if I could wring an explanation out
of this happy face conundrum

I would. As it is, I’d be better off pleading
my hyperbole to a bar stool or a glycine
bag of remedy cut with soothing sugar.
I will send you a postcard

with all the answers explicated
and underlined, if you will kindly
remove this vicious acid drip
from behind my right eye.

Selected byMaria Mazzenga
Image credit:JoanneQEscobar

Sara Clancy is a Philadelphia transplant to the Southwest.  Her chapbook Ghost Logic won the 2017 Turtle Island Quarterly Editors Choice Award and she is an Associate Editor for Poetry at Good Works Review. Among other places, her poems have appeared in Off the Coast, The Linnet's Wings, Crab Creek Review, The Madison Review, and Verse Wisconsin. She lives in the desert with her husband and daughter, their two dogs a cross-eyed cat and a 24 year old goldfish named Darryl.