Mike pins me to the sink, forearm
levered against my throat, flexing
the needle-nose pliers in one hand.
He and Ant examine the hole in my head
where the pencil lead snapped off, blood
leaking down my temple
and pooling in my ear. I squirm
and Mike presses harder. Hold still.
I know how to do this.
I know what he means: our fathers
used to salvage wrecks in Mike’s sideyard.
Hammer out the paneling,
clean the fouled sparkplugs
with spit. Flip them for cash or drive them
until the transmissions seized.
If they didn’t know where
one came from, they pulled it
into the garage, sold it off quick.
Now, Ant stands lookout
in the doorway. Half-watching
for teachers and half-watching Mike,
who rinses my hair
with floor cleaner thick
as motor oil. Eases my head
toward the weak light
of the pull-chain bulb. Presses
the pliers to my skull, and starts to dig.