How to work through lower back pain
(after Robert Okaji)
First you must get out of bed
like a sloth, moving glacially
so as not to make things worse. Next,
straighten, also slowly, taking care
to tuck your tailbone. Breathe
until your heartrate subsides a little.
Imagine you are enrolled in your mother’s
finishing school, a dictionary
on your head as you move through
the day. Set the timer for twenty
minutes when you sit down
with an ice pack at the computer.
Save your work when the timer
goes off, put the ice pack back
in the freezer, set the timer
again, and lie down on the floor.
Repeat until you meet the deadline
or run out of daylight.
The precision of these instructions!
The glacial movement that becomes the ice pack ….
Time slides along in subtle ways here, too. Nice progression.
I like the instructions too, though I wanted to throw in some movement too. I wonder if this might grow into a longer poem that becomes more than just back pain — that follows the same steps for other pain?
That finishing school line says it all!
I’m using your sloth-like morning pace and ice-packs on my mouse thumb
The prescription I need for my lower back pain! Lovely.
Fun poem. And I like the way it ends — deadline or dark.
I want to laugh but I know this comes from a place of pain. The line breaks makes this readable, and the middle verses about imaging Mother’s finishing school is well done for a flash of reflection.