no time to breathe,
cannot walk or talk,
sit or stand—
all that can be done
is moan and groan
and wait for it to pass.

A life of pain is like living
with a heinous neighbor.
Locked in a prison of pain
one becomes a connoisseur
of the corrosive appetite
for the moment of agony.

Wheezing in tears and stomping
one’s foot sets the stars on fire,
but does little for the hot coals
buried deep in the bone.