The chopped apple of her father’s eye,
She tastes the grapes of her mother’s drunken wrath
The barely visible slivers of silver-tongued almond
Needle her intestines as she savors
The seedless watermelon of fruitless friendships,
And endures the hard rind
Of a body gone awry,
To be chewed and chewed until swallowed or
Spat out. A salad of sorts
Surrounded by lemons
Home-grown, organic, bitter
And full of juice. She brings me a tough
Clear plastic bag filled with them
To our session.
“They’re the last of the season,” she tells me.
I pray this is true,
While at home, I pore through cookbooks,
Searching for yet another recipe.
About the poet:
Abby Caplin MD MA practices mind-body medicine and counseling in San Francisco. She helps people living with chronic medical conditions to lead empowered and vibrant lives, reclaiming their wholeness despite illness (www.abbycaplinmd.com). Abby also offers a weblog, Permission to Heal, for people who are “up in the middle of the night or down in the middle of the day” because of illness.
About the poem:
When sitting with clients, I hold the space to hear about the psychological and physical wounds caused by illness and how challenges in their lives have impacted their health. The woman in this poem is a composite of people with whom I have worked, as well as a bit of myself. When a client brought me lemons from her tree and told me they were the last of the season, I was struck by the symbolism.
Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro