The pain was everything — and I didn’t know
what day it was or how far to the next town:
because my lower left molar ached to the bone …
at three in the morning, three-thirty, four, eight o’clock.
Finally turning into a truck stop,
I ripped their phone book to the dental A’s — nobody in.
Then relief at the V’s in Dr. Valenzuela.
Valenzuela tried running the keeper words: root canal.
I said, “Rip it out,” and put the tooth in a blue box.
Back on the bike …
the pain kept going into sundown,
and there wasn’t any magic in the handlebars —
just a rhythm at fifty miles an hour
hour after hour, till sunrise …