Poetry News From All Over
It’s been seven months since I’ve posted. I apologize for ignoring the importance of poetry, the value of visibility, and the connection between MS and expression. Reasons abound, as they always do, for my absence. I could say, ‘my extreme disability,’ but that’s not exactly right, or I could use the ‘been really busy’ route, which is true, but still…. I should not allow these things to be responsible for my silence.
My husband, my caregiver, (those with multiple sclerosis know how invaluable that person is who cares for one with debilitating MS), is dealing with his own frustrating disease. Amyloidosis is not well known and yet similar to MS in that it is hard to diagnose, has a wide range of symptoms, and can be nasty in its effects. We have super doctors, a home health aid, physical therapist, a loving family, and cool neighbors and friends to help us through rough spots when my husband is not able to take care of me
We knew the daunting nature of our relationship with one spouse who is disabled and one who is not. Now we’re finding out how much more difficult it is to have a marriage where both partners have health problems. A developed sense of humor is necessary! We’re finding the seesaw challenge of balancing home, family, our art (my husband is an artist), and the mundane chores that must be completed—doctor’s appointments, medicine schedules, and things such as … laundry!—quite disconcerting. We are handling all this and honoring our creative energies; we know the importance of nurturing creativity in both of us—but sometimes our health difficulties are impediments to doing so. To meld our talents, Steve and I are working on a chapbook of my poetry and his art, which should be completed next year (2017).
Below is the poem, “Unsinged,” written in 2011, that demonstrates the above. It was first published in Wordgathering, 2011.
Charcoal fire lights our patio bricks. You turn the steak,
reveal crosshatch pattern of the grill.
I sit above you on the porch; we are silent as we often are.
Perhaps you regret serving steak, which you have to cook
and slice, and regret having to clean up this dinner
with its vegetables and rice, and even rue the decision
to marry me now that I am crippled, not able to do as I used to—
anything, really—and you are so silent I want to make as much
uproar as I can, rail against you for being so confoundingly stoic.
You finish grilling, climb the porch stairs, kiss my shoulder,
and enter the kitchen. I follow, my cane catching the metal
strip at the entrance. I grab the door jam to keep from falling.
“Are you OK?” you ask. There is nothing in this world
that could make me tell you the truth. You remove the red-cowhide
grill gloves, fill my white plate with asparagus and rice,
thinly slice the London broil, reserve the most tender for me,
and with the same steady hands, help me into my chair,
guide it to the most suitable position at the table, present my plate,
and light the candles. We eat by their faint glow and my most
secret self responds to your generosity with embarrassed
compliments about the food. Later, I watch you sleep,
scent of the grill in your hair, while your hands—
unsinged, wide, loose on my breast—
claim me this night as your own.
I love that poetry mirrors what is inside–gives voice to the inexpressible.
© Marie Kane, 2016 Published in Wordgathering, September 2011