Pain~I do not think it means what you think it means.

https://i0.wp.com/school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/scalpel.gifI was idly flipping through the latest issue of Parents when I came upon this:

For decades, doctors believed that babies didn’t feel pain, based on flawed studies showing that sleeping infants didn’t respond to light pinpricks. In fact, until the 1980s, many newborns who had heart surgery received no pain medication — they were only given paralytic drugs that forced them to lie completely still, though fully aware, as their chests were opened.

To which I say, WHAT??! Why is it that we need studies to tell us what should be perfectly, staggeringly obvious? As late as the 1980s!! We’re not talking the dark ages here. An appalling reminder that you can’t take anything for granted — it would never have even occurred to me that my baby wouldn’t receive anesthesia for surgery. He would now, but just 20 years ago…!

I was expecting innocuous articles on sharing and finger foods, and instead I’ll be forever haunted by the image of a baby strapped to an operating table, paralyzed, eyes open in horror, as his chest is cracked open.

But I can’t end a post with that, it’s just too awful, so here’s a poem from Lisa Russ Spaar’s collection, Satin Cash, that captures something of how I’m feeling right now:

You, with Gold Leaf

I grow impatient with spirit as alibi
despite each night, ecclesiastical,

more and more sky, the costal trees
in fierce defrayal,

fretting with kohl branches
the edges of the parking lot.

I stand by my car,
night a translucent, colostrum blue

of goodbye, & cocklebur Venus
reveals to me the truth

of your body as light source,
burning by mercy inside me still.

Lisa Russ Spaar.

Forgive the silence — our household is utterly entrenched in illness, and it appears that it will remain so for the immediate future as a virulent cold virus holds us hostage.

Cover Image
In the meantime, I’ve been reading Lisa Russ Spaar’s Satin Cash, which contains such lush, smart language — I spent Vincent’s too-brief naptime letting these poems wash over me.
*
One example:
Womb
*

What antecedent
for this intramural void,

my native, deep-seated
well — null, untenanted,

sulking place, finger-
slip of truancy, of minus —

if not this cave above:
bludgeon of boudoir stars,

chivalric piƱata,
quixotic hourglass

infinitely contracting:
negative, vernacular, lone?