Within the Moment of Indefinite Suffering

Greetings Friends–

Yesterday I sent emails to all of you who wrote on the comments page because I wanted to let you know that I responded there, in case you never heard back. However, there were a whole bunch of you for whom I didn’t have an email address, so you might wanna go check out that page. AND NOW——-

A public service announcement: IT’S TICK SEASON!

And it’s going to be worse than ever, rampant. I’d say “huge” but…

As many of you know, Julie, after eight years, is now in remission from the consequences of being bitten by one minuscule tick. She carried and was all but disabled by Lyme disease and its accompanying co-infections. At that time not only was Lyme disease being misdiagnosed but also denied in many parts of the country. Her story is worthy of being a memoir.

No, the tick is not infected by deer. The ticks are infected by the white-footed mouse, predominantly, and there are plenty of ’em around.

What to do? Cover up when adventuring into a wooded or tall grass area. Even then, on return, check all over–especially in any “creases.” If bitten, don’t rely on the bullseye indicator. It often doesn’t show up. Get tested. Early antibiotic treatment can prevent the disease. You don’t want to even think about what we have gone through, and that so many are enduring Lyme disease.

Enough already, Jack!! They can Google for information. Get to the poem!

Okay. One more thing: What does this have to do with the current presidency. “Get rid of the EPA. Cut back on health research! And and and . . .”  Uh, maybe a metaphor?

Within the Moment of Indefinite Suffering

All it takes is a tick. You can be walkingyour dog.
Your dog can be stopping to
sniff a patch of jewel weed or pausing
to pee on a post surrounded by poison ivy.

You could be watching a swallowtail slowly
lifting and settling its wings while resting on
a swatch of crown vetch. The sun could be
lost behind clouds, clustered in a cumulus

mound of white or sinister gray, the moon
could be full, waning, new, the stars moving
across their scrim of deep space, everything
still benign in its revolving threat. You

could be sweeping the walk, passing under
the pergola draped in wisteria, wedding veil,
honeysuckle, or merely sitting on the bench
beside the brook out back. Or taking a path

through the park, joggers steady-stepping, or
walking along the well-worn trail to the pond
at the edge of town where you could be sitting
under the willow, its branches hanging their braids

over your wait for the sunfish to surface. It could all be
beautiful: the day, the light, the breeze bending the tall grass.

— To all those suffering under the politics of Lyme disease

First published in Poet Lore, 2012

Published in Practicing to Walk Like a Heron, WSU Press

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8 thoughts on “Within the Moment of Indefinite Suffering

    • Thanks, Patti. And as you know, veterinarians were affirming and treating Lyme loooong before the human medical world faced the disease.

    • Hearing this affirmation helps so much, Kathleen. In this time of “fake news” one has to make sure
      important truths are presented in the most helpful way possible. So thanks for letting me know how
      this came across.

  1. Without hearing of my friends (that is plural) writings of their disabilities due to Lyme I would never have had the knowledge to get antibiotics when the circular rash turned up on my leg. Thank you to all who have been forced by circumstance to let others know so that we can take steps to protect ourselves from ticks and doctors.

    • Sandy, this is such a meaningful, important message. And we
      are sure relieved that you had the knowledge in time.
      With care,

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