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How long have you had this pain?

How long have you had this pain?
I find this question exhausting;
It plucks at an exposed nerve
Of frustration in this patient.
Each appointment drags me from rest
To this unanswerable question; when will it end?

How will it end?
Each spiral of pain
Calls for an excessive amount of rest,
Each burning numb moment- exhausting.
I no longer wish to be patient;
The body is a single, impatient nerve.

Which nerve?
One that runs from beginning to end.
Enduring the electromyography, I was patient.
Each shock to an electrode wrung pain
From that body that was particularly exhausting.
Then I went home to rest.

Do you already know the rest?
Can you pinpoint each nerve
That plays a role in this exhausting
Charade that may never end?
When exactly did I become a pain

In this waiting room, I feel like the only patient
In turmoil, the rest
Are mothers-to-be who will only know labor pain.
The nerve-
For their happiness to reach my end
Of the waiting room. This anger- exhausting.

If this sounds exhausting
And an impossible task to remain patient-
It is. But I stubbornly persist to the end.
I rest
And pray for deliverance from this nerve

Anna Boughtwood writes poetry in the waiting room of each doctor’s appointment. Her writing has appeared in Dime Show Review, East Jasmine Review, and Hudson Valley Writers Guild. She lives just over the Dunn Memorial Bridge from Albany.

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