on a scale of 1 to 10
how much does it hurt?

ten levels of pain
like ten levels of heat
at thai or indian restaurants
where the same numbers
mean different things
at different places
or even the same place
on different days
depending on the cook

what number do you assign to
it hurts, but it’s bearable
it hurts, but i’ll live
or are they the same thing?

i want to say 3
because i know
i can handle more
a lot more
but i need her
to know this is serious

so i look at her
for a moment
and decide
and say 7

she’ll understand 7