My Knuckle Bump HandSnippets heard
and overheard
as the world turns round and round
yes, arthritis in my ankles
my tendinitis screams at me
these aches and pains
are killing me
it must be getting old
thank God it’s not RA

Jean was told she would need
her hip replaced in may
Bob just heard
the scary word
the bump he found was tumor benign
surgery went fine,
we have dinner at nine
Ethel heard that Gladys know
a friend of a friend has gout
so many people
so much is wrong
but at least it’s not RA

The things you hear
from those far and near
words plaintive with fear
as the path you walk, dear,
you walk with the knowing
As they whisper and fuss
you do what you must
to deal with your RA

My Hands

My Hands
hold my children’s’ hands
when they are sick
when they are fearful
when they need to be comforted

My hands
write about
my condition
my children’s conditions
my ability to bring light and hope

My hands
crochet chemo hats
make brownies and cookies
send messages to friends
fighting their own fights with their own hands/heads/hearts
bring awareness to RA

My hands
are proud hands
not ashamed
of lumps and bumps
or even of the twists and turns that don’t yet exist
and not afraid to be held up to be seen
to be shaken (gently please)
to be held

These Hands

These hands unite us
They do not define us
Or prevent us
from being who we are

We are young and middle aged and old
We are male and female
We painfully thin
We are over weight
from the pain
from the meds
from inability

We are athletes
and authors
Painters, actors and politicians.
We are parents and siblings and children
We are not ashamed
We are not invisible
we are not the silent minority/majority
we are the hands
taking the places
of the hearts
and toes
and faces
of RA

See us for who we are
See us for what we CAN do
not for what we are no longer able to do

Take my hand
virtually or really
Walk gently with me
See me for who
I really am

I ride the train with you
every day to work or school
I sit across the meeting table
and take notes
I pour you your coffee
make your change
bag your groceries
pump your gas
entertain you with golf or tennis or movies and humor
I am anyone and everyone
and I will no longer be invisible.

These hands are painful hands
sometimes they are twisted and deformed
others inflamed  from my disease or from my treatment
still others appear
absolutely normal
but all are autoimmune arthritis hands
and all want you
to understand.


I hurt
and I know
that I am invisible
in my visibility
I fly banners
for many different causes
for friends
for family
for others’ pain
I look
at my aches
as I force through the day
and will
the pain
to hide


(posted in dubious celebration of Intenational Arthritis Awareness Day)


I am a junkie
I realize
as I draw the methotrexate into the syringe.
as fear grips my heart at the idea that
I won’t be able to get my drugs
as I push the air and ensuing drop
of the Etanercept
off the end of the needle

I am a junkie
I don’t get high
from my drugs of “choice”
I get nauseous
A headache
itchy and bruised
and every time hopeful
That this time my fix
will chase away the swelly pain.

I am a junkie
An RA Junkie
hear my song
I live
from injection to injection
from week to week
The hope of “remission”
an elusive dream