There is a birthmark on your retina, says the attending. In the record book I have the greatest asterisk assist. So like the salamander's tongue, my nerve shoots out then, suctioning, reels in the previously fleeting pain. I'm inside of a squirrel cage or on top of a millpond log, my exercise an exercise in future forward motion, and I've traded places with my effigy and moved my electronic bracelet from one ankle to the other – find me now.

In a past century Heikki Huotari attended a one-room school and spent summers on a forest-fire lookout tower. He's a retired math professor and has won three poetry chapbook prizes. This is his fourth collection.

See two of his poems previously published in issue 4.4 and 4.4

"Etude" formerly appeared in Punt Volat.