Missing Aches
Danielle Acebes

Though the past should be left in the past
I can’t help but recall the time when
barely a child, hardly a teen,
I was told the aches
were the result of my spine
not wanting to grow straight

On certain overcast days
when the musky smell of dampened dirt
is quick to stick to my shoes
I could swear
the dull ache behind my gut returns,
like a heartbeat in the wrong place
throbbing where hips and waist meet
reminding me it’s time to visit
the men in blinding white again,
smell the stifling, sterile air,
hear the interested hum of the machine
that sends its invisible, invasive rays through me,
questioning, like a curious child,
‘what’s inside of you today?’

Tedious, tiresome torture as it may have been,
the insights my pain provided me
always rewarded me a rare glimpse
of pearl formed against a black void,
like the moon rays glowing against a lake at nighttime
the lucid, luminous sight,
a bent spine telling
how special, how warped, how twisted I was inside.

Four years after,
My body’s fully recovered.
Two rods fully fused into me now,
unrelenting claws of correction holding me together.
Now I stand, pain gone
my body its own prisoner and warden,
living like a liar, sealing sickening secret skeletons.
Can’t help but wonder while I now stand straight
Does it not make me even more twisted
to miss the pain
that made me different?