“One-ninety over one-ten.” The nurse
deflates the cuff with a huff and a puff,
taking measure of the pressure in my
being laid bare once again on a
white-sheeted table like an inedible spread.
I’m here because the right flap on the
old picnic baskethas sprouted a lump.
I’ve been a ten-year-old boy, free as a
bird, for nine years. I don’t want to remember
the cherry rushes, the raspberry runs,
the libation to the goddess onto the doormat
of pad. I am done. Period. My inner boy
doesn’t care that the old swimming hole
has gone dry or that, down on the playing field,
brittle hay barely covers the pitcher’s mound.
I receive primary carefrom a physician
who peeks in the oven of my antiquated Vulcan,
then calls up a surgeon. Bacteria bees swarm
in the slingshot of my crotch, swelling
the gray hive with toxic honey. Like Pandora,
the surgeon pries open my box. She’s going
to pick, not preserve, my plum. Prick, and
the frog-leg skin twitches. The recipe calls
for a slit in the pie. Lickety-split, my fat lip
is a candlewith an eight-inch wick.
At home, I get an adult to open the bottle
so I can chew up my first white pill,
far too big for a boy’s throat to swallow.

-Nancy Clark


Nancy Brewka-Clark sold her first piece of literary short fiction to The Boston Globe Magazine in 1983. Thus far in 2017 her short fiction, poetry, and plays have appeared or are forthcoming in Paper Butterfly Flash Fiction (Canada), One-Minute Plays: A Practical Guide to Tiny Theatre (Routledge Publishing, UK), an anthology of short fiction about roadside shrines called Descansos (Darkhouse Books), the poetry collectionTwo -Countries (Red Hen Press) and the anthology of Jewish speculative fiction Menschen and Minyanim (Tree Lion Press).