Her eighth birthday choice:
to shrink into the dentist seat,
back-alley Como pharmacy,
tightly gripping arm supports,
metal bolt punching one innocent
lobe. Squirm, suffocated yelp —
parents watching, nodding
knowingly — red rose blossoming.
A few seconds of doubt
as the man swaps sides, moves
the ear bolt across, calming
words in Italian, childhood waving,
stepping back, young woman
ahead, waving on. Gripping tighter,
the second bolt more painful,
a piercing animal cry, then adults
applause, hugs. Her reward:
bejewelled metals in a bruised garden.
Matthew James Friday has had poems published in the following UK and worldwide magazines and literary journals: A Handful of Stones, Bolts of Silk, The Brasilia Review, Cadenza, Cake Magazine, Carillon, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Dreamcatcher, Earth Love, Eastlit (East Asia), Erbacce, Envoi, Finger Dance Festival, Gloom Cupboard, IS&T (Ink, Sweat & Tears), The Journal, The New Writer, Orbis, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Sonic Boom, Third Wednesday (USA), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal), The Peacock Journal, Pens on Fire, Pulsar Poetry, Rear View Poetry, Red Ink, South Bank Poetry Magazine, The Dawntreader, We Are a Website New Literary Journal (Singapore) and Writing Magazine.