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