Barbara Crooker: “Pinched Nerve”


When the pain stops drilling its jackhammer

into my right hipbone, retreats for a while

like a wave sucking back from the shore,

the afternoon settles back in its place,

sunlight tossing handfuls of gold through

the tendrils of the grape arbor, the broad-leaved

fig trees, the pomegranates.  The only sound:

one creaking rooster and the far-off murmurings

of birds, the language of silence.  Let me stay here

in this wrought-iron chair.  Back home, the news

is apocalyptic:  earthquakes, hurricanes, mad men

threatening the unspeakable.  But for right now,

as the pain subsides, the crust on this quiche

could make angels sing, and the pink-gray rosé

is like drinking Provençe.  Raise a glass

to this sunlight splashing everywhere!  I think

I am going to sit here forever; I think

I will never grow old.

Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry. Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) is the most recent. She has received several awards, including the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships.

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