The pain wrenches me out of sleep
and I flinch away from it.
Last year, it would keep me writhing
in bed, or else deathly still
afraid that any movement would exacerbate
I know right off that I am dehyrated
so small sips of water come first.
Then, eyes closed,
I visualize fresh clear liquid
soothing each inflamed cell.
Allowing careful breaths
to lead me right into the agony.
exploring every nook and cranny.
There is a beach near Esmeraldas
far from any human-made lights
I stretched out on at night
to be stunned by shooting stars.
It is as wide a place as I have ever been,
the vast southern sky filled with strange constellations,
the pale beach stretching out of sight,
the surf roaring and pounding its endless rhythm.
I can go there anytime I remember,
and feel the gratitude
for that magnificent space.
From that wide place, I can call in my ancestors,
ask: whose pain is this?
I accept the instant answers: today
the third great grandmother who died in childbirth
claims it. When I feel
into her abrupt departure,
the echoes are clanging and
I have reached one of my pain song’s writers.
Honoring her brings me to my own lack
of authenticity, feeling attacked
by family members yesterday and not standing
up for myself, taking the casual abuse
as if it were something I could easily shake off.
This struggle to speak my truth
has a long ancestral trail of grief
and pain. Each time I wake up
to my need to be authentic,
I expose yet another festering wound
from the depths of my soul journey.
When I call for maggots,
those fastidious debriders,
most of you wince and reel back in horror,
but my strategy for healing
depends upon the disclosure of secrets
and the pain of holding them.