SUMMER ARTHRITIS LESSONS
My mother slips a careful sock onto my feet,
and even though I am 27 and perfectly
capable of dressing myself, I let her.
They are excessively thick and knit for July heat,
but this is one lesson she passes down.
No matter your sweat, keep your feet covered.
When I visit her, she lays out a extra fuzzy blanket
and when she visits me, a heating pad waits expectantly
on her bed like boutique hotel towel origami.
We speak in this language of trinkets and remedies
that say I know what causes you pain. When we speak
of our love for summer, what we mean is
how great there is an entire season whose sun
makes the ache less. We sort through clearance racks
and fawn over dresses that only work with heels,
pull out pink pajama sets to let the silk shift in the light,
but put it all back, knowing these only work for other people,
for whom cold or discomfort doesn’t mean a flare up.
We laugh about flare up, the imagery of a blazing fire.
That it happens most when you let heat slip through
your fingers, when you feel too safe even in summer.
Chrissy Martin is a Ph.D. candidate at Oklahoma State University and has an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. She is the Poetry Editor for Arcturus and an editorial assistant for Cimarron Review. Her work has appeared in Harpur Palate, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Crab Creek Review, and Carve Magazine. Find her at chrissymartinpoetry.com.