“Switches” and “What Pain Doesn’t Know About Me” by Gail Martin

Issue 84

Found in Willow Springs 84

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The first doctor offered

to remove both ovaries.


One minute the lake is flat,

the next the wires on the hoist

where the boat

floats are humming.


Ordinary pleasures:

A card game, straw flowers

on the horizontal plane.

Vertically, silent cells

rev up production.


The man driving from California

to Michigan refuses to turn left the whole trip.

Something ruthless is accelerating.


Our bodies, cozy as beaver dams,

start to seem unfamiliar, property

rented for a season, light switches

our fingers can’t find in the dark.



What Pain Doesn't Know About Me


How I visualize him as a rooster. How I nickname him Sparky.


My rabbit-heart. How it looks motionless in the bank of clover

but secretly continues to nibble.


I can tell time underwater. I sing hymns there.


He’s not pocketed my vanity.


My history with onions.


My skill at parallel parking. Cigar-smoking men have been

known to applaud.


We are not intimates although we’ve slept together. More

like roommates forced to share the cramped space of my body.


Even now, in my freezer, I hoard a bag of rosy peaches

frozen whole. I skin them holding them under hot water.


If hit with black light, I glow like the blue scorpions

used to treat cancer in Cuba.

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