Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Flash Bulb

Flash Bulb
Photograph via Flickr by Magic Bulb

Peter had a tongue ring,
my mother warned me,
but it wasn’t contagious.

We drove those roads
three hours across Iowa,
then off the interstate,

onto gravel, off gravel,
onto dirt, past cornfields,
mile markers out of town.

I found him inside, a man
cornered like a specimen.
Open your mouth, we said.

He did it instantly, oddly,
as if he had no choice,
like a kid at the dentist,

or a boy who’s been hit,
a boy who needs a mother,
and ice. Open, wide open:

a dark bed, the obvious
underside of something,
central and deep,

yet fragile, small,
ready to snap.