He tells me he pulled the molar
on the right side when it was rotten,
proud—he shows me a gap
where smooth flesh arches vacant.
It’s a tunnel to something real. I want
to know how it feels—
when our lips meet, I push my tongue
under. Tiny frond-like energetic arms
sweep around for form and shape.
Together we beg for a controversy
that will make us human again. As his mouth
falls open, for a moment, I think I hear
wind in the valves of his heart.
Instead he is eating all the leaves.
When I was a child my mother told me to lick
the end of the battery to see if it had a charge—
I tried to stick my tongue in a light socket later
when she wasn’t looking, but somehow
something different happened: a tiny hollow
rectangle gave me the sense there is
a universe behind the walls. There are
scarred places in us both where things might
catch and shine in the dark. Breathing with him
I feel his hands search for a similar place
on my body. Something that holds light
a chloroplast, some chlorophyll, to fill himself
with the small bioluminescence remaining in me.
Later I walk the city alone, cold soaked to the bone.
Cassandra Rockwood-Rice self-publishes a small art and literary zine called Rag. She works for an arts non-profit and lives in California with her wonderful daughter and three brilliant cats. She is an award-winning poet with writing published in several national reviews and journals, including New Delta Review and Rip Rap. She has a poem forthcoming in Hawai’i Review. Cassandra holds a BA from California Institute of Integral Studies and an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts. She loves to travel and take on new artistic projects. She is interested in ecology, borders, identity, diasporas, and confession.