Friend of mine from many years ago
used to get these migraines
that would tie up the verbal center
of his brain so much that he couldn’t talk.
They didn’t make him mute, completely,
just hid the words
so that he couldn’t think of the ones he needed
to say what he wanted to say.
That was the start of one.
The finishing part was pain that would get to the point
to where un-anaesthetized brain surgery
seemed like a pretty good option
even if a man had nothing more than a hammer and screwdriver.
Most of mine start out with an amazing visual aura,
a series of connected trapezoids,
like a string of boomerangs
with bands of incredibly brilliant blinking colors:
black, purple, blue and red.
They dance for a while in the gaps between
the gas vapor blanks in my vision.
Sometimes the pain comes afterward
and sometimes it’s just sort of a wilted feeling
like someone or something pulled out some part of your brain
that’s not fully in charge of a single thing
but affects everything that requires thinking.
These little strokes aren’t much fun,
these days when the affliction
pokes another hole in your life
and leaves you lying on the couch
and hoping the butterflies don’t start yelling again.
knowing at least a dozen people who are battling cancer
and some of them thirty years younger than me–
I’m grateful that this small affliction is the one allowed me.
But I’m not praying for more of it;
I’m thinking that sometimes
a modest suffering
seems completely sufficient.