ars poetica with physical therapist

Last night, a blood moon, a sleepless

red ache & I thought once

upon a time, this is what poets wrote for:

heated den to snowy porch, un-tread except

by pawprints & lovers. Except now

I am writing about sitzfleisch, the ability

to sit on one’s ass & persevere in tediousness,

like tap dancing on teacups,

which is not just a metaphor anymore.

Although, when tossed right, those cups slide

across the floor like a waltz.

Sometimes, I am trapped in the sky-blue vined

ceramic bells my mother collected,

how often the bells ended upside down,

but never cracked or filled, like unbroken toes

of pointe shoes. We learned to tape

our toes, tape down the bell ringer tongue

like we tape a knee or shoulder injury.

You’ve said it before—we induce pain to ease it.

Our hands touch a dozen others. Induce & ease

my physical therapist says, face it. I imagine lifelines

in our palms inking the ones in our care. If only

everyone would stretch the tight tendons despite hurt,

condition give & take. Ice & heat.

Ease into full mobility. Instead, we hold

the ache inflamed, tightening tendon

tenderness until shutting down—& out—

is the only reprieve.