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Chronic Pain Disorder by Brigit Young

I imagine my body as a dahlia: Core of carefully

folded petals, tender explosion outward, layer upon layer,

pink, straight stem shooting up toward the food of the sun.

But my dahlias hardly withstood the storm. Ida blew through

and down they fell, their rounded triangles dusting the algaed

soil. A fungus grew. Grows. Rich leaves spotted with yellow

eyesores like the polluted corners of a creek. Stick after

stick I prop them up, craft crosses and three staked towers,

place bloom upon bloom, stacked like a child’s blocks

fated to Kaboom. When my body stopped working

like it should, I dreamed of stakes holding me up.

As the leg shook and the line for the lemonade revealed

itself much too long, I’d yearn for such strips of wood

to lean on, one below the back, another through the legs,

penetrating the concrete beneath me. “We’ll get it later,”

I’d promise my crying child. “Mommy needs to sit.” And I’d lean

on bamboo. Bow down. Fold. Fold against a trellis. Oh,

how I’d love to face the sun, feel it splash across

my breastplate. Despite the burns,

the marks of age, I reach toward it,

hungry for the sky.


Brigit Young is the author of three middle grade novels: Worth a Thousand Words, The Prettiest, and the forthcoming Bright (July 2022). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in several venues, including 2 River View, Word Riot, The Common, and Eclectica Magazine. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, she currently lives in the Northeast with her husband, daughters, and crested gecko.

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