A poem written by one of my brilliant and beautiful patients after a treatment. I was completely moved, and honored when she read it to me, and told me I could share it with you. May it stir something in you…
I paid good money to cry today.
The woman told me to lie on the table,
And placed a small pillow over my eyes.
She looked at my tongue,
Noted the deep groove.
A “heart crack” she told me,
Like a crack in ice.
She stuck a needle through my heart,
And held my hand as tears welled in my eyes,
Breathing deep breaths for me,
Because there was no room between the sobs.
Then she moved to my feet
Hands pulling at the air
Forming a slow and steady rhythm
Until an indigo thread began to emerge
She pulled and pulled
All the while spinning the thread onto a spool.
Aware of certain lightness
The freedom of my muscles without the thread tangled throughout
And I almost forgot about the woman,
They way you forget about sleepless nights,
When a cold subsides,
The way we all do when things work the way they should.
But slowly the thread found its way through my body
Wrapping around the muscles,
First in my calves and then slowly
Up and up
Until it was twisted around bone and veins alike
Around my neck and into my skull.
The thread worked faster at night
So that in the mornings I would wake with my eyes and jaws sewn shut
When I went back to the woman
I noticed a tapestry on the wall
Three women dancing
Heads turned up to the sky
Mouths open with delight.
Billowing around their legs,
Were long colorful skirts
Sage green, lemon yellow, burnt orange,
And just along the trim,
As I stepped closer, I could feel the colors
The green of self-loathing.
The orange of frustration,
And as I touched my finger to the indigo trim,
I felt the thread pulse throughout my body,
A surge of anxiety tightening around my ribs.
I didn’t know what to make of the woman
Who weaved a tapestry of out of other people’s fear and anger.
But I laid down on the table
To know the thread was no more a part of me
Than sweat or tears.
Photo credit: Helena Simon (Instagram: Helenanicola)