My hands are paining me.
I have the sensation that I am wearing a particularly thick
garden glove on my right hand.
I am finding it hard to bend my fingers and grasp things.
This terrifies me.
I can no longer hold a blade, a brush?
It amazes me
how much I take
Now, I am aware
of every movement.
There is no comfortable way to hold a book or turn a page
making it hard to concentrate – distract myself from the pain.
forget opening that jar
or prepping dinner
or pitting cherries for my son’s lunch
or for the cobbler recipe I so desperately want to try
forget pulling weeds or pruning houseplants
forget digging in the garden
forget making art.
I cannot even think of the studio
I feel so far away from it
My son came home from art camp all fired-up
having learned how to make friendship bracelets.
This brings back to me countless hours I spent tying knots as a girl.
I even taught myself to make the ones with diamonds!
It was meditative, a quieting practice
a tangible object formed by my hands.
Today, I struggle
to get my fingers to obey,
to help him tie his knots,
to teach him spiral staircase.
Getting a square of toilet paper is a challenge
I never expected to encounter
the paper slipping from my grasp.
Brushing my teeth, my hair
these mundane basic routines…
I forgo eye-liner, mascara – my armor
earrings – a bridge too far.
I’m swimming anyway.
The act of getting myself to the pool
a feat of endurance.
Each pull and flutter I am
all too aware
of every joint
in my hands
my lower back
normally a refuge,
allows no escape from the ache…
but the quiet is still there,