TMJ

Feb. 23rd, 2011 12:25 pm
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
TMJ

I eat like a clumsy snake
angling my head, unhinging my jaw

clunk, crack

sinking my teeth into my dinner
and my lower lip

tasting steak and my own blood
pain shooting through my bones

clenching my jaw, tensing my neck
pulsing in my head like a venom

paralytic.

cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
Diagnostics

Doctors have a list of words for pain,
all of them violent. Is it stabbing?
Pounding? Shooting? Does it chase you down
and jump you in the dark?

I am waiting for the fourth fifth sixth time
with a magazine and a pain in my belly
no one can name. This man on page fifteen:
his yellow hair, his smile - all teeth.

Bet you when his lover says no,
he asks her again. Men. They can't see anything
'til they're through, can't see you
curled on the quilt clutching your gut.

Nurse calls; thirty minutes naked in a cold room.
Paper makes it feel less safe. Then the doctor
enters, asks again as always: Are you allergic
to any medicines? Are you in an abusive relationship?
How much does it hurt, from one to ten?


Ten? Is ten a sharp slap to the face? A fall
down the stairs? Is one a paper cut, ten an amputation?
How can you number pain? It does not count,
does not have units. It does not stab,

shoot, burn, throb, sear, pound, or ache.
My pain is acrid and yellow, tart
like bad lemonade. Measure that.

February 2011

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