Joan Mazza

The Teacher Asks Us to Write about Pain

Perhaps she notes my scowl before I place
pen to paper, perhaps she feels my pain

at having to write about the constant squeezing
of my left calf that tightens like a vise,

a tourniquet, stabs below my knee where screws
and metal plates rub and scar. My cadaver

bone graft of unknown gender, age, the cause
of that death mysterious to me. Sometimes

a sharp pain behind my eyes, as if stuck
with a long hatpin, knife thrusts in my side,

invisible swords attacking while I sleep. Alien
aches reduce and diminish me to less than

the agile girl who could walk for miles. I see
myself then, walking country roads, beneath

a canopy of dark greens, hints of red and amber,
preview of autumn hues, walking at a steady,

pace in a rhythm like a lap around the rosary
to see the last of chicory’s blue flowers.

In high branches, crows in conversation,
making plans, not writing about pain.



joanmazza-10april2010Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self, she has had poetry in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art.

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