Life and Love Poetry


Bandages, beige walls, March afternoons.

I didn’t get emotional
as I pulled my left arm out of my sweatshirt
and maneuvered the limp sleeve to expose my shoulder.
I just thought, “Should’ve worn short sleeves.”

I looked down at my watch to note the time
and I told the nurse I did okay with needles,
I just couldn’t watch.

So I looked at a beige terra cotta wall
as a sharp pinch in my left shoulder
marked a key moment in the History of Me.
And I thought I would get emotional then.

After, I followed the beige wall down the hallway
and sat in a cold plastic chair outside the pharmacy,
and I tried to decide if I felt different,
if I understood the significance in my bandaged left arm.

15 minutes later, I stepped into a March afternoon
angry at my lack of feeling.
I sat in my car for what felt like hours,
and I grasped for words and hopes I’d lost to a year of trauma.
And I believed for a moment they’d never come back

because I didn’t get emotional until the drive back home.
I braked for a familiar stoplight,
and I saw the breeze rustling budding oak trees,
and I thought about all the small miracles

that led to the sharp pinch and the bandage,
the beige wall and the cold chair,
the year of hurt turned the deep breath of spring.

The red light turned green,
I rolled down the windows,
stepped on the gas,
and I let the rain of relief dance down my face.

By laurenstockam

Lauren is a graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

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