Saturday, June 20, 2009

25 Years of Successful Diabetic Care! Deserves a Poem!

cover the poetry book "The Transparent Body" by Lisa Bernstein from Wesleyan University PressIn January was the 25th anniversary of my diagnosis of what used to be called juvenile diabetes, now called Type 1. I'm still healthy!

Diabetes has been a great teacher for me. Here's a poem I wrote a couple of years after the diagnosis. It's published in my book from Wesleyan University Press called The Transparent Body, which you can order from my website .

For the Wordless Body

the muscle constricts with thirst.
The scent of citrus in the urine,
sugar leaking
into a film across the eyes.
Morning fills the windowpane,
a lit rectangle to be hungry in. I hurry
past buildings, counting out streets,
a self with words
and a hollowing silence of cells.

Language punctures
the skin.
Slimmer than a pen
the syringe shoots the insulin.
The sweetness of tangerines
lingers in the bloodstream. The injection
combusts it into strength and heat.

Body, christened again
you burn too well, flushed
as an infant and shaking for food.
A frantic mother, I bend to you.
At night I fake the bravado
of a teenage boy pinching
a girl's bare leg,
the needle poised above my thigh.
For years you absorbed what I fed you,
then denied.
Now you try to refuse
the sweet essence that keeps us alive.

So I am vigilant
for the sake of eyesight and limbs,
grateful to have seen this particular death
and to walk away. I forgive us
this defect, the first defection
to the dissolving silence
trailing me like a cloak.
It falls from my shoulders
when my arms rise, awkward
and bare, a child's A
against the light.

copyright 1989 Lisa Bernstein

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Thanks for adding your voice!