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Tracing the Pain photo


it’s hard to explain how tired I feel       each day
my autoimmune disease attacking my bones
at the hip joint and spine       I limp down the hall

to the water fountain where I joke but am serious
about needing a cane       at my old job
there was one guy who brought a cane

to work each day       but not out of need
more of an accessory       when asked about it
he said something about using it to beat the ground

in front of him to check for snakes in Georgia
where he was from       which sounded like
horseshit to me       and a good way to get bit

I think it won’t be long before my father
needs a cane      every year I watch my father
from whom I inherited my eyes and work ethic

and this disease     grow stiffer as he walks
from bedroom to kitchen      blinking a lot
and asking what’s for breakfast      we have so little

in common      it has almost become a joke
on car rides alone trying to fill
the silence     he didn’t know he had it

until I found out       tracing the pain
through waiting room after waiting room
until I learned the word       for what we shared