“Tell Me When It Starts to Hurt” by Kelly Fordon

Kelly Fordon


The husband and wife rented one of those
videos. The wife was up for it, never having
seen one. At the time, she believed that
a person should try everything once.
The film opened with one of the principals
gagging on a monster knob, and then,
repeatedly jamming it back into her mouth.
Afterwards, she knelt for the benediction.
Abduction was a major part of the story line:
a woman shunted into a white van and drugged.
In the next scene, the perpetrator pounced
and the woman’s knockers rocketed around
like people trapped and frantic, scrambling
for the exit. At one point, the star’s eyes
rolled back in her head and her pink lids
fluttered wildly. The wife was reminded
of a naked mole rat documentary she’d seen
the week before where she’d learned that
a naked mole rat’s skin has no pain receptors.
Even if doused with acid, a naked mole rat
won’t feel it. Also its lips are sealed
to prevent dirt from filling his mouth.
This could be a useful adaptation
for larger mammals, she decided.
In church, two days later, the choir sang,
“How beautiful is the body of Christ.”
The wife fought the urge to flee.
Her son grew bored and grabbed her finger.
“Tell me when it starts to hurt,” he whispered.
He pinched and she shook her head.
He pinched harder. Her finger grew red.
“How is this game fun?” she hissed.
The song felt like it would never end.

from Rattle #40, Summer 2013

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Kelly Fordon: “Writing poetry is magical when it’s going well—like speaking Parseltongue and then having no idea how you managed it. But, on days when it isn’t going well, I still write poems, because I am trying to make sense of the world around me. After watching a porn video last year, I wrote this poem. I needed to laugh a little bit at the absurdity of it, so that the sadness and rage would not overwhelm me.” (www.kellyfordon.com)

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