“The Healing” By Christopher Raley

I start on a gurney’s white-starched sheets and lay
how he says and show what he asks and then
his finger through tissue and fat digs
to tension and hurt the pressure of healing.

I end to a world tilted off.
Every sitting now is how do I sit?
Every standing now is how do I stand?
But joints can neither find comfort nor return
where memory loses the force of habit.

I pray to pollutions like bottled little christs:
please dissolve to block the bent structures of body-
faith in alchemy through water and acid.

But pain is not the devil’s servant.
I swallow and yet it scrapes the vision of my proud pleasure.
Pain is the finger of rebuke. Pain is the grip of love.

I started on starched-white sheets
and waited for the healing to come.
The healing came and the pain did not go,

I ended to a world tilted off,
not able anymore to accommodate its slouch.
I stand at a slant, my hip pinches me straight.
I sit at a slump, my leg pains me walk.
I walk head down passing the hidden
in cowering formation of chemical ignoring
while numbness spreads from the crimp in my spine.
His finger is pointing.
I raise my knowledge and pull straight my strength,
stabbed out of groveling
as if all these were merely flesh and bone.


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