And in the end,
you face all your challenges alone,
but the manner of the meeting
is up to you.
Hold your chin high,
put on the game face,
remember it’s not forever –
that suffering now means
You’re stronger in the broken places
Just bring it.
It’s just a cut on an unerupted molar, but it turns quickly into
a discussion about infections, antibiotics, surgery dates, and nurses.
Granted, what brought me to the doctor was the pain in
my ear and a worry about a different kind of infection,
but I didn’t expect to walk out with nothing more than
“call your surgeon” as advice.
Apparently, explicit instruction for no dental work isn’t enough.
More saltwater and DayQuil for me, then.
The moment the bombs went off in Boston, I’d just told the doctor
“I’m an author” when he asked what I do for a living.
When I came home to share that first with the world, I didn’t know
people had died, hospitals were filling, no one was arrested.
The juxtaposition between my victory and their losses is too much
perspective for one heart to hold.
I’m not the type to emote over public tragedy, but we all
have our moments of smallness when evil strikes nearby.
Between the new worry about bacteria in my blood,
and the blood on the pavement in Boston,
I hide in bed, trying to convince myself the two are not linked,
that the poison in the veins of those responsible
doesn’t live in me.
Betwixt the actual-factual worries and fears,
There’s a quite silly one scuffing my brain.
What happens to my piercings?
How soon can I put them back in?
Will they seal up forever?
Is surgery the deciding factor between punk and grownup?
I know, right – who thinks like that when facing down the knife?
I’m constantly fending off those who laugh at my flinching needle phobia when they learn about my piercings. For someone so sensitive who gets light-headed at the thought of a shot, I sure do have a lot of metal.
But I’m quite attached to the holes I paid to have punched in my body,
Willingly, although not without trepidation or fear.
Each one has a story. Each one a reminder. Each one precious.
The first in my tongue. A tiny bar I’d always wanted that doesn’t show until I laugh and mean it and doesn’t touch my teeth, much to the frustration of dentists. Reminding me since nineteen: tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.
The second in my navel. A plain and gapped silver ring that slides around during sex and looks like a miniature alien is erupting from me when I put it back in. My reward at twenty-one for shedding the evidence of bingeing.
The third in my left nostril. An original corkscrew stud from the day it became part of me that gets stuck in tissues when I’m sick. The end result of a tandem date at twenty-three that match-bonded me with someone I miss very much.
Maybe I’m too sentimental.
Maybe I’m being childish.
But I can’t help wanting to hold onto as many little things that make me me as I can
When I fear so much being taken away.