The jackhammers are at it again.
They tear gaping holes in my cranium, make
Crumbling ruins of my temples,
Churn my insides like loose gravel,
Scatter me in little pieces like so much rock debris.
Three days the misery has gone on,
And still there is no end in sight.
Who knows how many more days it will go on,
How much worse it will get,
How long my daughter — sleeping beside me because of last night’s
Can subsist on peanut butter and Cap’n Crunch?
I turn tortured, streaming eyes toward the closed blinds,
And there I see a streak of pink.
Bright pink, almost like neon, but prettier:
At once softer and more intense.
But no. When I put my glasses on, the streak disappears.
Glasses off again, the streak reappears.
Then it happens. The whole window glows pink.
It is warm, it is ethereal, and even in my agony,
It feels like magic.
What is this show that breaks through the blinds at the window,
The blinding pain behind my eyes?
I wonder, but cannot look.
The jackhammers have pinned me to my pillow.
It is Katie’s eyes that do the looking for me.
Katie, whom I worry for so often when I cannot be fully there;
Katie who I am certain will be damaged for life by these episodes,
Like the daughter of an alcoholic, except I don’t drink.
But all else is frighteningly similar.
This morning, though, she bounces to the window,
Pulls the shades open all the way to the top,
And announces the panorama playing out in the sky.
“Oh, Mom,” she gasps.
“You should see this rainbow. It’s gorgeous!”
It stretches clear from one end of the block to the other,
A perfect arch of color set against a bank of mauve clouds.
It stays and stays and stays,
And we look and look and look, my daughter and I,
Her brown eyes shining, my brown ones streaked in red,
Mother and child joined in one of those powerful mystical moments
Where Nature’s sheer beauty and magnitude overtake everything:
The pain, the undone dishes, my disappointment in myself for failing
And for those moments, at least,
Our world is transformed into something we will always remember
Always know to be meant just for the two of us.
And for those moments, at least, it is enough.
It is enough.
Â© 2001, Ann Graham Price
An entry from the
Putting Our Heads Together
Migraine and Headache Poetry Contest
Second Place, 2001
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