To the Tick on My Left Testicle

Your hillside
belongs to me,
especially this me.


Now I have to get
my father
and act more panicked


than I am
to cover
the embarrassment


of just how impossible
removal is—
          decades later,


when I refused
to be evicted,
the violence


in my chest and eyes and hair,
telling the landlord
that I was in law school


when he knew
I worked at a yogurt shop,
and you, tick, are in the fake law school


of my balls,
if I can quote a line
           from William Shakespeare,


another man
who once had an insect
bury itself


deep in
his crotch,
I’m sure;


it happens
to the worst of us—
and now, the warmth,

my father
lighting tweezers
with a match,


telling me
that it came to me
          for warmth


but now
it would get more
that it ever wanted,


the metal
hot
as stars


and I gritted to look up
at the bathroom mirror
to see this image


from my childhood,
my only real memory
          of my face then.

Ron Riekki’s books include And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press), Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Independent Publisher Book Award), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (Michigan Notable Book), and U.P.: a novel (Ghost Road Press).  Books upcoming in 2019: Posttraumatic: a memoir—essays & flash non-fiction on the military, prison, iggy pop, the devil, & writing (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State University Press, with Andrea Scarpino), and The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise (McFarland, with Jeff Sartain).

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