Acupuncture

still life of doctor's implements

Room warmed for me,
fresh sheet laid gently over me,
warm fingertips gently
search my pulse in
one wrist then the other.

Needle after needle.
No sensation.

Needle.
Searing pain
receding to a sting
then subsiding.
I don’t cry out,
but Note:

Needle.
On the point in the center of
the web between forefinger and thumb,
Lung Meridian.

Needle.
Pricking out Sorrow.

Notice. I was living in moments of joy
that rise, needing no protection,
sometimes no cause,
and abiding.

Joy always present, not
erasing sadness but overriding
it, sparkling over it:
prism light on a dirty floor,
a starry sky in a mud puddle.

Yes, I have had sorrows
that froze me into
needed numbness.

And waves of new sadness recur.
Allowed, accepted, embraced, they
become memories
of themselves.

Become caught in the lungweb,
heavy in the heart:
withered, stale, unfelt,
unexpressed because of no words
or hidden because taboo,
residing for long times,
held, held tenderly
in the sweet consolation of
melancholy.

Never trivial, but
neither are they unique.
There's selfishness to sorrow,
and pride, greed, vanity,
ingratitude, guilt, and shame,
stuck there out of laziness.
And useless.

Needles.
Pin me to the fabric that we all share.
Needles.
Direct a flow —
lung lobe to lung lobe to Lung.

I don’t sob.
I breathe out sorrows —
not just forgiven,
forgotten,
gone —
flushed with air.

Flush
all day long:

Open palate, fill
pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi,
alveoli, capillaries, arteries,
chambers of the heart
with air;

On the StairMaster, pump, pump,
heartpound pumps air;

In sidewalk stride, push, pound,
sole in shoe, shoe on pavement, push
through air.

Yoga breath, stretch meridians.
Tai Chi breath, open channels.
Meditation breath, notice.

Fill lungweb, Lung, Heart.
Molecules of air move;
they do not reside.
Lung and Heart soften, emptying,
enlarging, opening to the flow.

Open.