“The Body”

There is no arbitrary way of saying it: pain is everywhere.
Trying to read in a bed that’s not a bed,
Only folded blankets for appearance and hard as the floor.
Sleeping on a blown shoulder. Craning in front of a computer.
From the scratch of an angry cat, the
Itch swelling behind the knee not now thank God hot
But still interfering with the folded knees of meditation.
And “only” a backache. (What everyone claims to have.)
I keep second-guessing myself: Should I at my age
Be hauling a lawnmower over steeply curved spaces?
There isn’t an answer. It is written that
Acetaminophen destroys kidneys and a kidney value
Is off by a tiny bit (“Third stage kidney failure?” Yeah. Right.
Thanks Internet!) Aspirin? Inadvisable when you already
Have tinnitus acquired while saving up for a root canal.
I said to a neighbor about her hoarding “These situations get more difficult
The longer you put them off. You get older, weaker,
More disabled, less motivated. So now is the time to deal with it.”
But let us return to pain…
There is a way, I have noticed to deal with it in meditation:
First because it makes you so unconsciously tired all day,
As soon as you sit down you immediately sleep
Then there is the flush of heat as wakefulness returns
Then the systematic dismissal of “guests,”
(Since counting breaths has become too easy,
Since the thoughts have been trained to run under it.)
This is good for distracting you from the hair on your forehead
The dirt under the contact lens, the throat tickle
The inflamed knee. Lamaze taught us that the attention
Can only be on one thing at a time. So, this is the Lamaze Method
Of meditation that lasts ’till the 40-minute chime gently sounds.

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