An excruciating itch overrides everything —

the gentle melody wafting from the radio,
the soft, swishing current of the fan,
the taste of hot, bitter coffee as it tides over my tongue,
the building tension of a bestseller.

Involuntarily fingers find the raised flesh
and dig nails into tissue.

For a brief moment
all torment is forgotten in gratifying relief.

Then the itch returns with a mad vengeance
just as a high-pitched whine hits my ear.