Not Enough Time in the Moment

I don’t want to sugar coat this.
Partly because I’m out of sugar
and don’t have any neighbors,
but also because the truth
is too powerful to camouflage
with a decoration and sweet taste.

I no longer want to hide
behind a smile and polite
murmurs of agreeance
when, in reality, your words
reduce me to sobs—
convulsing (again)
under the weight of worry.

Am I too much for this world to digest,
to swallow down the urge to pull
me from my reverie of living?

My “condition” (your word, not mine)
now brought to center stage.
But I’ve forgotten my lines—
my frustration
and anxiety
and sadness
wrenching from my mind
any pleasantry I could utter
in recognition of your social standing,
the ingenious diversity of your life.
You know another woman with
my “condition”?
How brilliant!
How keen!
How forward-thinking,
you clever you!
You really must be top
of your social circle.

My “condition” is riddled with scar tissue.
My “condition” is a prosthetic
deemed a luxury by Medicare.
My “condition” is knowing the road
from here to Lexington, Kentucky
better than I know my own backyard.
My “condition” is spending far
too much money on books. And not caring.
My “condition” is loving so hard
it hurts when my lungs contract
but not noticing because it happens so often.
My “condition” is walking into a room
of faces who know who Doc is,
how many surgeries I remember
(how many I don’t),
witnessed basketball games
baton routines
swim meets
volleyball years
and when I finally realized
I’m not that great at sports.

How do I finish?
I whisper to the notebook in my lap,
this poem—these confessions—
ink a stain like elderberry wine.
You don’t,
a voice in the distance of time responds.
Each day you choose to continue,
so shall your words.


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