Friday, May 19, 2023

Two Poems by Rebecca Upton Hayes

On Life with Pain

The pain snakes through my body
starts in my feet/makes its way
up my spine stops in my shoulders

Others don't understand
They are used to having pain
in one place at a time like
if they stub their toe or bang
their knee against their desk

I hurt for no reason and any reason
and every reason

I take Lyrica hope for salvation
Hope it will eliminate these aches
Free me from this cycle of pain

I make plans anxiously because
how should I know how I will feel later?
And I worry others think I’m flaky when
I cancel like I’m lying about feeling
too achey or exhausted

If I was lying I’d come up with something
more interesting
If I was faking anything
I’d make it all more interesting
than this
Hashimoto's Disease, 2018

i stare into the blank spaces of walls at hospitals
i ignore the flowers
this place feels too bleak for such beauty

i could count how many times i’ve been here this year
if i checked my records on the account the hospital gave me
but i’m afraid to find out

in the MRI waiting room we’re all there
for the same thing,
so doctors can take pictures of our brains
and tell us if we’re normal
i didn’t mind having it done
but i wish they picked a different Pandora radio station

the doctors think i’ll be fine if i keep taking my new medications
this could be comforting but it isn’t
i want to feel better now,
i’m sorry if that seems a little unreasonable
okay, i’ll shut up now, i’ll stop asking questions
sorry doctor
yes, i’ll take my pills every day

the pins and needles come back all the time
sometimes i feel heat when i shouldn’t
i want to play guitar i want to do anything
other than massage my own aching joints
i hate that this has become my life now
they promised it would get better than this
nobody tells you what to do when it doesn’t

Biography: Rebecca Upton Hayes is a writer currently finishing her degree in Disability Studies at CUNY School of Professional Studies. Her creative and academic work are inspired by her experience living with disabilities. You can find pictures of her cat and her creative work on her Instagram at

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