Before I go, I have something to say

God on the Head Pain Unit

Today God is a girl named Sarah with a headache. Her eyes
are killing her. She leans in the doorway of the green room,
where we wait to see the doctors every morning, the opposite
of rounds but still that’s what they call it. Something about
the fluid behind her eyes, how it builds up and hurts like
the devil, no pun intended. God isn’t kidding around.
Then Mary comes in (I know, but like I told you, God isn’t kidding
around here) and Rachel pats the chair beside her so Mary folds
her long limbs there, and Rachel takes her hand off her own forehead
to gather Mary’s long bare feet and put them in her lap. Mary’s got both
hands on her head; it’s the universal signal for I’m God and I’ve Got
a Freaking Headache. The room seems to be teeming with biblical names
but I’m Pam, and there’s no Pam in the Bible, and here comes Cody;
there’s no 17-year-old kid with a limp 23-inch Mohawk shining down
his left shoulder in the Bible either, although you know, there ought to be;
it’s a righteous sight to behold, it’s a goddam burning bush if you ask me.
And you should ask me, because today I’m God, and I’ve got a headache, and in fact
I’ve been God for almost four years; that’s how long I’ve had
this holy headache, this sanctified transformed migraine, and I have created
my own universe of hideousness
out of the black-hole darkness and out of the killing light
because I made these heads and said they were Good
and I made this pain and said it was Good
and now Sarah goes away to talk with the doctors
who know they are really Good, and in comes Rebecca,
whose pain knows no ending and no beginning, who walks not bent over
but perfectly upright, in her lavender silk pajamas; she could carry
a jar of water on her head for miles down these hospital aisles without
spilling a drop, she is that still when she is
moving, and it would hurt, but she is God so she could do it,
all of us would do anything if those doctors said it would – excuse me – if
those doctors said it might help.

And so we are God, our eyes on the sparrow but only watching,
not saving, moving our hands over the face of the waters and saying
I have made this: the earth, the heavens, the consequences.


Published in Headache (journal of the American Headache Society) 4/2011
(revised since publication)

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