"Affliction" by David Dodd Lee was published in Issue 11 of the Marlboro Review



I'd love to disgorge it,
the way my cat simply coughs out its hairball
then slinks away, no problem.
When my friend (fearing dentists) had a toothache
he tried to dislodge the offender
with a squared off splinter of wood
inserted into a nail gun. It doesn't surprise me

how far we go.
Like sex, the tension mounts.
I'm usually too grateful, or relieved, afterwards,
to do much of anything,
nothing at all
passing before the plane of my vision
unless it's the sky
littered with various birds and a dry diurnal moon.

The wood, size of a matchstick,
was too soft to do much good.
Still, tears ran out of his eyes afterwards,
making him tremble
with the pleasure of even a failed effort.
I knew things would get worse before they got better.
It was the best I'd felt in months.

Copyright ©2001 David Dodd Lee

Home Issue 14   Issue 13   Issue 12   Issue 11   Issue 10
Issue 9   Issue 8   Issue 7   Issue 6   Issue 5