June 15, 2024

on broken hearts and bad hips

Your country will break your heart again.
It will break your heart like a bad boyfriend,
like the liberal feminist boyfriend
who has hated every female boss
he has ever had, like the conservative
you put up with because
he seemed so smart until
you realized he said the same thing
in every argument and told
the same jokes for 30 years.

Your hip will hurt worse
every time your heart breaks
because who has time to stretch
when you need to stress eat and
lose all hope in the basic decency
of the world around you?

Your boots were made for walking,
sure, but they can’t go anywhere
from the top shelf of the closet
where they’ve sat through
the past three years of limping
in orthopedic slip-ons.

Once they called it hysteria
when depression, anxiety,
and trauma exacerbated illness.
They gave it a label that meant
they didn’t believe it was real
and assigned that label only
to women and girls.

Does your physical pain
make your emotional pain worse,
or is it the other way around?

Yes, yes, you know the answer
better than the doctors who rarely
listen after asking if you are depressed.

You are going to have a limp
for a long time, girl,
the rest of forever most likely.
It’s mostly emotional
and mostly physical,
probably even somewhat genetic.

You have no choice,
so you’ll get up and do what
you need to do regardless.

You have nowhere else,
no one else, no other country
than this one that just keeps
breaking hearts and letting
hips go untreated,
so once again, you will
have your cry out,
eat some chocolate,
squint your eyes,
pull your hair,
slip on your comfy shoes,
and ask yourself
just what in the hell
he/they/we are thinking.
What? Why? How?

The pain doesn’t stop,
but the calendar changes.
Tomorrow, you have things
to do that you will manage.
Tomorrow, no one will
notice your limp.

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