one through ten


Your question,

my chronic pain.

My answer,

at your request, 1-10.

But first, can you tell me


How much you love

each of your children?

1-10: How much you would miss your sibling

versus your spouse?

1-10: How you would order

your senses?

Lose the wild raspberry and amber

spray of sunset, versus

the scent of your newborn’s skin?

1-10: Where your passions fall?

Your successes, your failures,

your dreams?

I am not sure, at all, Doctor,

you understand the weight

1-10 implicates—the hidden

balances, agendas, the compensatory scales.

If I were to tell you

that the way down is deep,

the sinking long,

and you won’t make the next narrow pass

without two oars,

Doctor, which


would you choose?