Tag Archives: health

Armistice

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Swing through the chaos that goes cellular
overturned chairs and broken
heirlooms
upright
pianos
and medal-ridden jackets paraded
everything
in pieces
and hospitals
and central lines
vomit and pills and tears and shouting

But it is history
gift or curse
full or empty
it depends on the moon
or zodiac
or if it Thursday
or maybe Sunday
or it rained
but mostly if only one call was made
to make a thing happen
….any thing

People have died
and others have not
some walk away
and some dig in
fortify foxholes

Every closet
a rainbow
of unified colors
dishes aligned
and broken
and aligned again

Battles may be routinely lost
but skirmishes
with countertops and dark loads
can be won

There is no lasting peace
no peace
unless you’re savoring
seconds

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Eyed Up

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Standing at the edge of the soccer field
She swung her rope
Jumped
Jumped again
Varying her speed to vary her heart rate
Intense bursts followed by leisurely hops
She kept her eyes on her son’s practice
His perspiring brow mirroring her own
As he sprinted towards the goal

Other eyes were on her
Some of the moms
Some of the dads
Some dads’ eyes lingering
Assuming she performed for them
Versus her health
Her form fitting yoga pants and sports shirt
Selected by her for comfort
And to insure her clothing didn’t obstruct her workout
Kept her safe and cool
Moved well with her
And made her feel confident
Must really have been slipped into
They believed
To entice men to stop and stare
Excite a biological imperative to ogle each curve
And assess her attractiveness
Her motives
Her worth

How shameful for a busy mom
To multitask on a beautiful day
Attend her son’s practice
And still fit in some exercise
Before stopping at the store
To pick up her family’s own groceries
As well as those of her elderly mother
Swing by her mom’s place to drop off the bags
Carry them all in and unload them
And encourage her sweaty, antsy son to sit by his grandma
And swap stories about their day
As she threw out the expired yogurt and milk in the fridge
Print so small her mom could never spot the spoil
Change her sheets
Fill her mom’s pill box for the week
And make sure she had everything she needs

Finally, setting out her trash cans on the curb
Before climbing back in her car
To rush home in time to prepare dinner
For her two hungry boys and hungrier husband
Put her own groceries away
Then run her other son to swim practice
And remain poolside to praise his progress
Before heading back home and throwing in two loads of laundry
Paying the bills
While helping both boys with their homework
Fill out permissions slips for upcoming field trips
Clean up after the dog in the yard before the sun set
And throw a ball for their ancient spaniel to chase
Scratch her belly and giving her a treat
Pack everyone’s lunches for the next day
Fold the now clean laundry and set it atop appropriate dressers
Load the dishwasher
Wipe off the counters
Ask her husband about his day
And talk about his frustration with his boss
And the state of the country
And their shared distaste over the unfathomable resurgence of high-waisted jeans
Finalize the schedule for the upcoming weekend
To determine which parent is taking which child to which game
As they perfectly conflict on Saturday
Before she set out her clothes for the next day
So when she gets up before the sun rises
She won’t need to turn on the light
And disturb her husband as she gets ready for work
Sets out the cereal boxes and bowls for the family
Rinses blueberries and places them in the center of the table
Along with a note, “Love you all. Boys, please turn in the signed permissions slips that I put in your folders in your backpacks or you won’t be able to go on the trip to Philly. Have a wonderful day!”
And heads out the door in the still dark
To go make money
To help pay for the team fees and the groceries and the gas
And veterinarian bills

Please
Let us judge this mom
Let’s put pictures of her jumping rope on social media
Let’s assume she chose to stand where she stood so everyone could best see her
Instead of where she had room to jump and still see the field
And let’s talk to all of our friends about her disparagingly
Criticize her for her ostentatious show
Of fitness and a concern for her own health and wellbeing
As she carries the weight of her family
On her capable, well defined shoulders every day
With enthusiasm and love

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Life will do what it does
lull us
then toss us airborne
to plunge untethered

Her blond head on the hospital pillow
as she wanders out of our reach
her mother, bedside
calling her home

Another’s cells gone rogue
…the sort through treatment options
decisions to make that alter
marking what now becomes
a time before
a time after

The one keeping to quiet corners
having walked another
beloved to the final
beat of his limitless heart

I’m surrounded by heroes
in the grocery store
who have suffered greatly
but still buy strawberry jam
and avocados
bake pies and grill corn

They have shown grace
and disintegrated in fear and grief
alternately
bedpans have been thrown
fingers laced gently
regrettable words spilled
mopped up later
or later still
or never

We stand firm
lay prone in puddles
get back up
repeat
repeat

This is the only way
Dark and beautiful

July 2017

 

 

100 Years

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She watched them on the treadmills
and stairmasters
jaws set and eyes fixed ahead
moving rapidly nowhere
hoisting weights and snapping ropes
rowing in place on the cement floor
muscles grateful for the challenge
and reprieve from ergonomically designed chairs and desks
protein shakes clutched in hand as they exited
carefully temperature controlled buildings
and navigated the short walk
to their cars

Life lived in comfortable box after box
everything easily accessible

She sometimes wondered
if we are happier and healthier now
then when we woke and hunted
breakfast by climbing the hill
in search of berries or rabbit
watched the sunrise from
the banks of rivers
as we collected water
diving in and swimming when warm

Vaccinated to safety
we view our world through windows
we run in place
breathe the purified air
eyes fixed for 100 years
to the screen ahead

NaPoWriMo Day 29

Make It Count

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Every miserable day
and good one
near the water
or in a hospital
I try
I try
I try
My manta of gratitude
for functioning legs and serotonin uptake
quiet moments
and every last hug
for a soundtrack
and friendship
and good enough health
for those I love to make it to sunset
then sunrise
Repeat
Repeat
Repeat
Chaos and uncertainty
are too tight socks
pinching circulation
and leaving deep ruts
but limbs intact
if a tad blue
When I manage to roll them off
a more seamless state slowly returns
The heart relentless
doing its work
Pushing
Pushing
Pushing

NaPoWriMo Day 27

Miss Manners

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He apologized for not stopping over sooner,
as he’d promised, to drop off the medication.
Sitting down on the offered bar stool, he slumped
back against the kitchen wall. He just got out
of the hospital, he explained. Couple of back-
to-back heart attacks. Only fifty. And the pain,
he said, hadn’t been all that bad. Intense but brief.
Figured he’d just overdone it at the gym, upping
reps, weight, and time on the elliptical that morning.
He showed me his bruised arms, said it felt
like they shoved a nail through his right wrist.

It was dinnertime. I offered him a slice
of pizza we’d just pulled from the oven,
not wanting to be impolite. Grease glistening
on his lips, I saw myself stitching shut
his arteries with each bite. Another victim,
killed by kindness.

NaPoWriMo Day 24

Wake and Embrace

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(World Autism Awareness Day)

In the spin of your DNA
we handed off plenty
unintended delights and equally unintended glitches:
the soft blue of your eyes
and misaligned bite
bad cholesterol
paired with unbreakable bones
admirable height
along side an uncertain pancreas
prolific whiskers
and dark blond hair
a steady heartbeat
supporting shy veins

All this I see
and feel gratitude for every unremarkable and astounding attribute
shake my head and sigh
about those less than ideal items
that have floated along the gene pool
and may eventually bloom in your frame
as part of our heritage

All blameless and natural as breath:
a propensity for developing auto-immune disorders
the history of strokes, faltering hearts, and cancer as we age

All this I see
and may even apologize for unwittingly passing along some physical flaws
yet know with certainly I am powerless to control the DNA
good or bad
that molds your body

So why is it I feel so differently about your mind
and your mental health?

Why am I eviscerated with guilt
over the genetic code
that dictated the formation of your neural pathways?

It too was constructed from the same cluster of cells
that left your skin fair
and makes your smile dazzling

I had no more control over if you inherited
genes for addiction or OCD
or a brain built non-standard
than I did over the shape of your thumbs

Perhaps I’m plagued by doubt and guilt
because I’m told almost daily
that psychological differences or mental health issues
are a character weakness or parenting failure
something you choose to indulge
versus something as biological as diabetes
or neurological as Parkinson’s

We are judged
minute by minute
by those who have no idea
how horrifyingly impossible it is for you
to often hear the actual words that people speak
because those words and their intended meaning
are being drowned out or altered by the emotions you are feeling

Or by people who struggle to understand
why you are entirely incapable of concentrating
because the seam of your sock
is pushing into your toes
and the sensation is so overwhelming
that you can’t think of anything else

And that much of the time when you are in public
you are able to converse with ease
make eye contact
and act very like the people around you
so people assume that you should be able to do that all of the time
and if not all of the time
at least most of the time
and that if you don’t behave in a way perceived as rational
it must then be your free choice
instead of your body’s will

My perfectly imperfect, beautiful child
who is no less or no more than every other child and ancestor
who like us all carries both darkness and light
and just like everyone is challenged and gifted
may the world rise to meet and embrace you
offer you kindness even when you confound them
may everyone wake and become aware
that although you may not always be predictable
or conduct yourself in a way people may fully understand
that you have much to contribute
and are eager to find your place and acceptance
that your existence makes all our lives richer
you, as you were made, are worthy and wonderful
may you love and be loved
for the remarkable person you are

 

NaPoWriMo Day 2