baselines

they ask
“are you lacking
interest in things
you normally love”
and I don’t know
how to answer.

it feels like a fog
hangs around me
and I can’t relax
even in a sparkly bath
with candles and
calming music.

I work hard for
the things I want
and then when they come
I’m underwhelmed.
the happiness doesn’t come.

but I laugh on cue
and my smile
is a benchmark for others,
and sometimes I feel
intense joy when my cat
snuggles next to me
or my husband makes me a meal.

they ask
“how bad is the pain,
zero being none
and ten the worst
pain you’ve ever had.”
that’s handily subjective.

I’ve had six teeth
pulled within the same hour.
when a police car
hit my leg when I was nine,
I said I could walk,
it was just a little numb.
how was I to know
I’d spend months
in a cast from
hip to toe?

babies cry at
the slightest hurt.
it’s the most pain
they’ve ever known.
how can I answer
when I don’t know
what pain awaits me,
yet to be endured?

they ask,
“are you okay?”

how can I be okay?
with the things
that life keeps
throwing at me,
it’s a miracle
that I’m alive.

but I am.
alive, I mean.
okay, like pain,
is too subjective,
the criteria keeps
changing with each day,
each new hurdle.

I’m here.
i hope that
satisfied the question.

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