Monday, December 10, 2012

Randy K. Ralston- A Poem

Assimilating Pain

In Vietnam I dropped
the head of a sledge
on my pinkie toe
in the motor pool once.

Pain snapped
on its harsh light,
then glowed unevenly
as a dying fluorescent tube
all night.

The nail curled black
as a winter leaf,

when I pulled my sock

I didn’t visit sick call.

began to draw
my knuckles
once a week

across the burred edges
of tank armor.

I saw the tiny slices
fill with red.

            It was an accident,

as was

the elbow striking a crowbar,

the intercourse
between my palm
and the blade
of a flat head screwdriver,

hot brass I plucked
fresh from the rifle range
with my bare fingers.

            I could take it.

At home, I permitted
the filament of a weed eater
to kiss my ankle.

I bathed myself red
in a cauldron of steam.

I bit my fingers to see
the outline of teeth
stitch the flesh
above the knuckle.


I cursed, and

            Dumb ass!

I was

I snuck to touch
the stove
behind my wife’s back –

to get away with it,
see if she caught on.

I didn’t want my body
to shake,

those throes
when it
finally hit
critical mass.

No comments:

Post a Comment