Rax King is a dog-loving, hedgehog-mothering, beer-swilling, gay and disabled sumbitch who occasionally writes poetry. She authored the collection The People’s Elbow: Thirty Recitatives on Rape and Wrestling (Ursus Americanus, 2018). Her work can also be found in Yes Poetry, Dream Pop Journal, and Five:2:One.
The Lord will keep you free of every disease
Boys were faith healing
in every furry chest, priestly
in every dimpled chin—yes,
I believed! I spoke in tongues
for boys, made hymns
of love songs, believed in the firm
of knobby fingers tapping my sap,
in tongues plumbing
the sick of my throat. I tithed
everything to boys. But boys
have no place at bedsides
like gods do, but those arms
live to pin me down, but those hands
claim they can’t lay on me
full of something so dull as healing.
To be sick is to learn the falseness
of your priests. I left the sickbed
one day to an emptiness of boys.
My money depends on the body that they want to shackle to the hospital for a week, a month, longer, longer. The money that pays the doctor is distasteful to that doctor.
My doctor tells me to get another job. I tell him there are no other jobs.
There are. I could pull caramel-colored espresso shots for $12 an hour. I could serve lunches to worker bees for $20 of tips an hour, on a busy day. I could type and file for $14 an hour, in an office with, maybe, one of the men who’s felt the dire weight of my ass in his lap like the end of the world.
Sugar, a nurse tries to tell me one day, through the cheery gap in her teeth. You can’t strip forever. I don’t know how to explain that I don’t plan to do anything forever.
I pray, I wheedle, I try to reason with every feckless gurgle in my gut. I hold my pills in front of my gut like if she sees them, she has to obey them. It doesn’t make a difference. I wilt sick and, then, sicker.
Work is going to kill you, my doctor tries to tell me, his white teeth good-boy straight. I don’t know how to explain that there is nothing in the world I wouldn’t let kill me.