As I was leaving the surgical center they handed me the sheet with my post-procedure instructions, a sign of faith perhaps, that I was sufficiently out of the sedation to know what I was given.
I tucked them in my pocket, anxious to get home, to get coffee and the food I’d been denied since midnight the night before just in case something went wrong and they had to put me fully under.
I did get relief from my pain but I tossed and turned in bed my sleep coming in fits and starts, for no apparent reason, and when I read the instructions this morning I checked off the side effect insomnia and gave a half check to irritability.
Once they pierced your heels to hobble you, bound up feet and ankles to lash you to the earth, there weren’t angels then, no wings, just the pain of toes crushed inward, the silent agony of motion, a cruel joke played by gods starved for entertainment. But Terpsichore, hearing Erato’s song, set them free brought them to a pointe, allowed them to take wingless flight, and toes became a platform from which their joy rose up spinning, whirling, slashing until even the most jaded of the gods fell silent in awe.
She tells me I should rest, that I need convalescent time, but I want to tell her, “why, it isn’t like they stuck a needle in my eye, so why rest?” but it actually is just that, but the rest of my body is none the worse for the wear on my face, and it hurts less when I am doing something other than thinking about it.
The eye will feel better in a day or two, they say, and I have great faith in them, why else would I let them stick a needle into my eye, and anyway, I have a spare and that is the one that still works like new, well, almost new normal wear and tear excepted.
The cat ignored him totally this morning. She wouldn’t give him the time of day if she could have told time. It was surprising, and for him it was painful. He loved the cat, and he thought the cat loved him. Once he thought he saw her sneer but he knew cats did not do that. But she looked away, if she had even looked at him in that moment. But to not even acknowledge his presence, to thank him for the food, that hurt. The cat hid her smile, knowing even Pavlov would be pleased with how well her training of the human was going. He would be wrapped around her paw before he knew it at this pace
I want so to say that i feel your pain, but we’d both know that was an utter lie.
I can tell you abut my pain, describe it at great length, and I will be utterly disappointed when you admit you can only imagine it as a reflection of your own pain, which I am certain doesn’t begin to rise to the level of mine, but that is your failure, and I will forgive it for I know that my pain is unique and beyond even your imagination.
So let us just agree that each of our pains is beyond the contemplation of the other, secure in our own uniqueness.
My back bemoans its age,
knowing the alternative
is far worse, and as
we limp along, we await
the call to attend
the unveiling of the resonance
images which draw us in
and will, in short order
if, even, there is no answer
no underlying truth
and certain it will not find
the simple alignment
that eludes us and
we will continue to share
our abiding pain.
It is an ungainly beast and its cry, as much a bleat as a roar, can pierce the air and is never easily ignored. There are far larger to be found, and far more beautiful. Some have voices that melt anger incite passion, alleviate pain. Some sing in a register so low touch and hearing are merged. Even this beast has its smaller kin, gentler, if not ever soothing, happy to fill a room, not a universe. But the great beast has always known its place, held in the arms of and cradled informal procession, carried forward into battle by the so-called Ladies from Hell.