Arthritis

“Arthritis”, “Grape Jelly” and “Equinox”

In Poetry Issue Ten by Tabatha Jenkins

Arthritis

She is

in her mind.

The meditative hand

swept from left to right,

blank and replete as

nightfall.

Only years left to

arthritis,

until she is someone else.

The moon is

sagging, swollen,

and filled with a silent suffering.

Her aching joints creak,

but she is someone else –

studded with stars.

Only the emptiness

is silent.

Grape Jelly

Your face is still smeared

with the grape jelly

from breakfast two days ago,

but you refuse to acknowledge it,

or the dishes still on the counter.

You haven’t brushed your hair in days.


People are worried that you’re

getting bad again,

forgetting again,

old enough to be put away,

finally.


But your eyes are alive

with the colors and words

you want to create through

your stiff fingers.

The arthritis is thickening.


You can’t be bothered with tedious

notions of normalcy.

You only have a little while left

before your mind tethers off

and signals for the end.

They’ll come with good intentions

and very little patience,

they’ll only hear what they want to.

Put you in a white room,

with a Bible to keep you company.


They want to believe

that that’s what best,

but it’s only best for them.

They’re still young enough

to enjoy the luxury of passive thought.


But you need more time

to connect the lines with the letters,

to mix the colors right,

to polish and perfect the detail.

It’s all they’ll have to deal with after.


So as you scramble to make some sense

of your insanity,

you lick at the jelly

on the corners of your mouth.

It’s still sweet like contentment and accomplishment.


The sound of footsteps near the door

makes you calm.

Sweet kids, they might miss you.

But if they understand this,

they’ll understand you.


No doubt, the sound of a gun

makes everyone more sensitive.

And the sight of death inflicted

makes everyone rethink the facts,

finally.

Equinox

You were September's news,

crawling your way out of summer minds

filled with sweat and parched tongues,

flocked with mosquitos

and exposed skin.

Was there ever a happier time?


Would you remember the burning sting

that overtook your body

as you laid down on the sidewalk?

Your eyes were barely able

to see past the glaring light,

the pain forcing them closed.

You were a fish out of water,

gasping for air,

until you finally rolled off the edge.

Swimming in your remedy,

you surrounded yourself in the waves.

Staying safe, you would not emerge until

the heat gave way for cool.


And you found your way to me;

my skin was still burned

from a flaming July that still hadn't died

when I emerged into the world.

You kissed my wounds and pulled me through

to the other side of the spectrum.

The chill in the air took our breath away

and we huddled close together.

Our weakened hearts drank in the relief

and our breathing trembled.

We had found a way through,

exactly how we would never know.

Would we make it to November?

About the Author

Tabatha Jenkins

Website

Tabatha Jenkins is a recent college graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello where she studied English and Creative Writing. She has been published in Adelaide Literary Magazine, and in the blog 'Friday Night Specials' by Helen Literary Magazine.