There is nothing else in nature so effective,
a tornado of seizures bound
in a knuckle. It’s easy:
Simply pinch the nipple
between the thumb and pointy finger
and wrench it around
four hundred degrees or so.
Yes, child, the flesh is weak. See,
on skin so loose the bruising takes
the shapes of little sunbursts.
The nipple is where the nerves have built
little balconies into the world
from which to expose themselves.
Ask a nipple if it knows
the feel of gravel
embedded in the skin.
Now ask your knees.
Primate behaviour has
unaccounted for variations.
For instance: young male
wrestle and fight and punch and
bite to establish dominance,
much in the way of adolescent boys,
but for some reason
our cousins the apes have not included
the purple nurple in their rituals—
perhaps they’re not evolved enough.
Ask Calvin Little, age thirteen,
breathless on his knees
in the gravel, crying uncle,
if he doesn’t believe it takes a certain
amount of logic and reason
to conceive of torture.