Faculty member Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s new entry for The Best American Poetry blog appears online:


A few weeks ago my left hip gave out. Maybe “gave out” isn’t the right term. A few weeks ago the pain I’ve been having on the right side of my back for about a year inexplicably moved itself, in its entirety to my left. It wasn’t the same kind of pain. It was sharp and involved nerves and all of a sudden I had a pronounced limp. Sitting was very hard, which made writing hard. Standing hurt after a few minutes. I finally understood why people say nerve pain is the worst. I’d wake in the night and it would feel like my leg was on fire. That’s not quite accurate. I would wake in the night and feel like having been set on fire and allowed to burn for awhile my lower leg was now being peeled to the bone with the same attention and care you would use to acquire a sliver of the finest parmesan.

I’m saying this in past tense because the pain is slightly better right now. I’ve started physical therapy and I’ve been seeing the acupuncturist. Today my acupuncturist said, “We can treat the pain or we can work into the foundation.” And then my physical therapist said, “I think you’ve had this issue for years and the pain is just bringing it to light.” Which is not so different from what Dr. Ng said in San Francisco to me all those years ago. “Very old,” he said. “Very old pain.” And then he smiled at me and meowed like a cat. Which was something he did a lot and always made sense at the time.

Finish reading online at The Best American Poetry.

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