I interrogate his beefy fingers until my eyes are dim and I can’t
bear to nod or perform the appropriate amount of murmuring
to what he is saying anymore. His judgment is irritating.
I understand dead from the half-chewed words
that only slightly dribble out onto his lips and dry out. He clinks
a spoon on my tooth, the big, milky one that was my favorite,
says it’s off-colored, says it’s been dead
to the nerve for years, asks if I want it extracted.
I sit in his contraption of a chair in the middle of my mind,
thinking about what it means to be living and what it means to be dead
to the nerve. How much of me is machine, is function, is the casual
decay that is being body and is this the nerve of me,
or is the nerve of me the part that is already over?
Samantha Samakande is a Zimbabwean poet currently based out of Bloomfield, NJ where she resides with her husband. She is a graduate of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and is a junior editor for F(r)iction. It is her lived experience as an immigrant that made her a poet, an observer, and a daughter of many tongues and in-betweens. Her work has appeared in Pif Magazineand Hobart. In 2020, she was the second-place winner of Frontier Poetry’s Award for New Poets.