The tumor has teeth
Rancid with decay
And hair, sickly strands
Such as warts sprout.
Don’t forget the tail
Putrid as a dragon’s;
So long as to reach
Way back in her brain,
Back beyond the powers
Of lenses, scopes or rays.
The juice in a bottle
Makes it all work:
The dancing and weaving
Of a street serpent
On a Chinese New Year.
Oh! Yes, the celebration!
Fireworks frighten the dark
Allowing her to forget.
She is festoons
She runs the lines of neon,
Dances with sparklers,
She is the body of the parade,
All true until the dragon tells
In strange whispers and dark asides
Of something truer:
How he will eat her.
It explains without words
And in no certain logic
How it will devour
Soft tissue first
Such as the eyes and lips.
It vows to chew slowly
So she will not see
Its next appetite.
It will reclaim old fevers
Even though it trembles
Unable to hold a light
To a cigarette they both want.
It tells without telling
How to scratch the stomach wall
So the staples of her diet,
Saltines and olives, will burn
And blister so corrosively.
Then she will drink the juice
And it will be New Year again;
Only with fewer fireworks,
And hardly any dancing.

Timothy L. Rodriguez has published in English and Spanish. Warren Publishing of Charlotte, NC recently introduced his latest novel—Never is Now. His fiction and poems have appeared in over two dozen national and international publications including Main Street Rag, Heyday Magazine, Stoneboat Literary Journal (2017 Pushcart nomination).