Shelby Pinkham

Unskippable Pharmaceutical Ad


such luxurious bones

open, my mouth in       listen 
usually, I        avoid intimacies
like loving myself is selfish.

of course,   sincerity alludes me.
in the dentist’s office, I fight the 
urge to say:        drill me, daddy. 

you say deeper. here 
is a recovery              for me. 
something, of course I cannot

afford.               therapy: 
to focus                            on talk 
            I’m in it for the action. 

my rotten, half-developed wisdom 
               tooth.    I pay 
out of pocket. dentist and I,

in radical communication: or 
a lie brought to you            by the same 
system that insinuates care.  

a drug I would take for healing: 
being paid a living        wage 
at                        the university. 

you say                     wider. 
I press with my whole 


Shelby Pinkham (they/she) is a Chicanx, bipolar poet from the Central Valley. Their first collection of poems, Rx / suppressor, was a semifinalist in Noemi’s 2022 Poetry Prize. She works as an editor for the Kern County literary journal Rabid Oak and as an educator. They were selected for Lambda Literary’s Emerge Editorial Scholarship and fellowship at Lambda’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. Her writing recently appeared in or is forthcoming in ctrl + v, The Ana, and Lunch Ticket.