This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Amanda Judd, is from Stress Positions by Marion Deutsche Cohen, released by Alien Buddha Press in 2020.
Lessons from “The Back Pain Book”
(1) I mayn’t move too far to the left, mayn’t move too far to the right, mayn’t bend and twist at the same time, mayn’t sit too long, mayn’t stand too long, mayn’t walk too long, mayn’t be lying down too long, And the doctor says “Keep moving.” This is the opposite of paralyzed, I have no choice but to move. And I’m tired of moving. I want to rest. (2) Don’t sit down for more than 20 minutes at a stretch, don’t walk around without taking breaks, don’t lie down for too long, either. Thus am I further reminded of the impermanence of things. Not only does nothing last forever, nothing lasts more than 20 minutes. Sometimes less.
Marion Deutsche Cohen is known, in particular, for her writings (poetry and memoir) on three topics: spousal chronic illness, late pregnancy loss, and math. She is the author of 33 books; her newest poetry collection is Negative Aspects (dancing girl press), and her latest prose collection is Not Erma Bombeck: Diary of a Feminist 70s Mother (Alien Buddha Press). Forthcoming are Disturbing Shapes (New Plains Press) and Reasons and Remedies for Insomnia (dancing girl press). She teaches a course she developed, Mathematics in Literature, at Drexel University’s Honors College.
After a 25-year career as a paralegal, Amanda Valerie Judd returned to school to earn her AFA in Creative Writing from Normandale Community College. She is currently attending Southern New Hampshire University working to earn her BFA in Creative Writing – Poetry. In 2020, she won the Patsy Lea Core Prize for Poetry. In 2021, her poem “My Only Label” was nominated for “Best of the Net 2021.” Her work has been published or is forthcoming in PAN-O-PLY Magazine, MockingOwl Roost, Trouvaille Review, Prospectus, and Talking Stick 31.
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