“Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.” G. Washington
It’s anxiety. It’s tension. It’s not enough sleep.
It’s not being good enough. It’s being too good. Too smart
for my own good. Too smart for your own good. Too smart.
It isn’t standing up nobly to resist oppression. It’s
frantic. It’s the loyal opposition that can’t take it
any longer, tell top brass what they really most need
to hear, and are threatened and fired for their pains.
It’s the family intervention that happens after
they’ve cried themselves dry and sore and aching
and the loved one keeps on keeping on with whatever
it is that hurts them and everyone around them, but they just
can’t see what’s happening. It’s the pain in the body
crying out stop, stop, STOP, but hey, no, us? We’re tough.
People depend on us. No pain, no gain. Just push through.
What happens if you don’t listen to your body? Yeah, that.
The pain chews back, chews you up, chews on you like a bone.
You wanna ignore me? Yeah, just try. Pain that buzzes
like an electric shock. Pain that freezes when you aren’t cold.
Pain that burns when you aren’t hot. Pain that bites like
a bug inside your cast where you can’t reach it,
but there is no bug, just the pain. Pain that shivers,
pain that crawls, pain that stabs, pain that throbs,
pain that aches, pain that moans or whimpers or cries out.
You’re not listening. You’re not listening. You’re
making me angry now. Trust me, you don’t want to make me
angry. And then the pain moves in, your new roommate,
the one with bad breath who never flushes, the one who
eats the special treat in the fridge you were saving,
the one leaves Legos on the floor and burns your best pan
and forgets the milk on the counter until it spoils and
hides the bags of grocery behind the recliner until
you can smell them and wonder what it is. Yeah. Hi, roomie.
You don’t like it? You should have listened at the start.