Aspirin by Krista Cox

To Pieces by Clare Elsaesser
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When I was young, I got a lot of canker sores. My dad 

said it was from all the orange juice I drank trying to make

the Wisconsin winters tropical. He’d crush an aspirin

between two mismatched and tarnished spoons, 

place the powder on the sore. It would fizz 

and my eyes would moisten like the fleshy space

beneath my tongue. It would eat the sore, cauterize

the weakness worn into the strawberry pocket

of my cheek. It would hurt like hell.

But it would empty the wound — leave it

numb and impotent, a benign hollow

where a fire no longer churns.

This is why I think of my former lover

folded around another, clinging like tissue paper; 

this is why I think of his sweet-worded mouth 

on her stomach, never strained or stretched with life.

Krista Cox

Krista Cox lives in South Bend, Indiana, where she studies creative writing at Indiana University. She is a full-time paralegal and has two precious patience-testers. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Analecta, scissors & spackle, and Melancholy Hyperbole. Her OKCupid profile is a work of creative literary genius.