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This month... My Aching Back

Abby Caplin

 


The chopped apple of her father's eye,
She tastes the grapes of her mother's drunken wrath
The barely visible slivers of silver-tongued almond
Needle her intestines as she savors
The seedless watermelon of fruitless friendships,
And endures the hard rind 
Of a body gone awry, 
To be chewed and chewed until swallowed or
Spat out. A salad of sorts
Surrounded by lemons
Home-grown, organic, bitter
And full of juice. She brings me a tough
Clear plastic bag filled with them
To our session.
"They're the last of the season," she tells me.
I pray this is true,
While at home, I pore through cookbooks, 
Searching for yet another recipe. 


About the poet:

Abby Caplin MD MA practices mind-body medicine and counseling in San Francisco. She helps people living with chronic medical conditions to lead empowered and vibrant lives, reclaiming their wholeness despite illness (www.abbycaplinmd.com). Abby also offers a weblog, Permission to Heal, for people who are "up in the middle of the night or down in the middle of the day" because of illness.

About the poem:

When sitting with clients, I hold the space to hear about the psychological and physical wounds caused by illness and how challenges in their lives have impacted their health. The woman in this poem is a composite of people with whom I have worked, as well as a bit of myself. When a client brought me lemons from her tree and told me they were the last of the season, I was struck by the symbolism.

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro

Encounters

mainencounterspicEncounters, our latest feature: Patients talk about their healthcare experiences and share stories about their lives outside the doctor's office.

Latest Comments

  • The Big Chill
    Mimi Emig
    What a poignant and well-written piece. This brought tears to my eyes. There are so many failures in ...

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  • The Big Chill
    Andrew Gallan
    Please refrain from using the term "frequent flyer" even in quotes. It's disparaging and erodes your ...

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  • The Big Chill
    Warren Holleman
    Thank you for shining the spotlight on this medical and moral dilemma. It's not the fault of doctors ...

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