Before I go, I have something to say

My Time on the Sofa

That February the white sofa
was my gurney,
my plinth, my bier. Laid low

by a headache no doctor could
define or ease, sick to death
of the bed upstairs, I stayed

in my favorite reading place
even though I could not read.
The sun’s sharp fingers

shrieked through the high, unshuttered
window, all those days
it was so cold, ten below

and no new snow, not a cloud in the sky.
Alone in the afternoons,
I forced myself upright

to cast a row of magazines against the glass,
then lay back down, arm thrown across
my eyes. From the radio came

news of the world in British accents,
my cat offering his occasional
neutral comment.

At night my daughter
recited a library book about headaches,
and my husband fed me

a few more pages of the novel
I’d abandoned.
When, finally, I had to get up,

my head was hot with pain,
leaving a scorch mark
on the white pillow.


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

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