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.