Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why One Becomes A Massage Therapist

You take me down long roads dusty with grief
and show me: "Just there. The water used to fill a little pool
and spill over: you could cup your hands beneath."

I cup my hands beneath. Your shoulders rise 
with hesitation now, born of pain so automatic
that no joint moves without a grimace. Still

I pull the whole arm up straight and reach behind
for a spot that's hidden by the scapula else,
I let my fingers settle into the flesh, like

the bare feet of a happy four-year-old
in wet beach sand. I ponder the empty feel
of the house: I ponder the echo and the silence.

I heard the beginning of your apology
for not being cheerful. Forget it. The gift
of good cheer is cheap: use it once

and throw it away. The gift of plain suffering
is a gift that will guide me in the parched hills
when all else proves worthless. This

is the gift I came for: this is what my hands drink in
when I cup them under the little stream of light.

5 comments:

Jo said...

Jesus, Dale. I never know what to say that isn't repetitive, but that's startlingly and starkly beautiful. Very affecting.

Sandysbassline said...

As a massage therapist this really spoke to me, in so many ways. You have quite a way with words and imagery. Thanks for sharing.

Dale said...

Thanks so much, Jo and Sandybassline!

Alex Payne said...

..... thank you......

Brooke Burgess said...

The depth of this is astounding. Given the title, this type of work was not what I was expecting to find. You find an expressive and exemplary way to communicate the caring spirit of a massage therapist. This has enlightened me to the kindness he brings to his work. Looking forward to reading more from you.