Tag Archives: health

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

Flexibility

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Feet pressed into the mat
she rises
arms extended
reaching
every imperfection
falling away
as she lengthens
each scar, swell, roll
wrinkle, grinding bone
all the measures
she misses outside
immaterial here

She is fluidity
in chaos
secure in this darkened room
where only candles glow
soft breeze dancing across her skin
music matched to each movement:
forward bend, lunge, plank, down dog, cobra, tree, dancer, willow, star, airplane, diving plane, mountain, warrior, lovers hands

“You give so much,”
whispers the calm voice,
urging her onward.
“Every day is different.
Every body different.
Trust yourself.
Listen to only your body.
Challenge yourself.
Lose your balance.
Try again.
There is no right or wrong.”

For this one hour
there are no phones
desks
or children needing
no discord or dis-ease
only her breath
slow and steady
her muscles shaking
as she holds herself
damp from perspiration and uncertainty
she has never been more beautiful
serene, content, fulfilled,
perfect

Her love strengthening
with every pose
she is ready to bend farther
extend even more
in all light

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 3

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Speed Of

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She’s buried in the snow 

of a machine that floats

over her abdomen

revelation as frozen pictures

a Hubble Deep Field view

liver nebula

her native kidneys

a drift of distant stars long dead 

their light only now perceived

Was it better when we mistook

every bright spot in the black sky 

as a promise 

back before we understood

their glow most often signifies

softly whispered farewells

March 2015

Julie Ayers