72. The Migraine

Yeee, eeee, eeee,
Heee, yeee, eeee, eeee, eeee….
Tiny high whine
Coiling in the ear
To pierce the skull.
Neck stiffened.
Sweat beads bridged the nose.
She forced her eyes open.
Here it comes, Louise thought.
One of those.

She lay in bed.
Bo slumbered, under covers,
In a heap. Warped
Floorboards were washed white:
Slope of moonlight
Through unshaded panes.
Ignited dust motes
Fat as planets bobbing,
Floating in the milky beam.
Louise, listless,
Traced them with a finger.
But the scene she sketched
Began to quiver–
All in sight a tremor,
Till it ruptured–splintered,
Needles in her eyes.
She threw off the sheet,
Kicked it away.
Face vibrated: vision
Shattered, like a marble
In a kiln. Air
Cracked into pieces,
Objects into shards
She could not fit again.

Her clock on the dresser
Pounded time.
Here it comes, she thought–
Spike at her temple,
Battered in–
She pressed hands hard,
Hard to the bad place,
Wildly earnest, arched,
Beside herself, a child
With monstrous swarms–
Each sting, stinger
Prying from her face
Brain, muscle, bone.
Outside, far afield,
A lone dog howled.
Wish for telephone:
Her last thoughts
Splitting vials of pain
Behind her eyes–
Shut them up, she said,
You’re seeing double–
Two dressers, two doors.

Her left shoulder
And left breast pumped sweat
Till sodden, oily slick–
Hands to her head–
Yeee, eeee, eeee,
Rigid spine–
She clamped down for
Quiet, but the bed |
Creaked when she rocked
From side to side.
Worse at night, worse–
She jerked–not a soul–
Die right here.
Flash, jagged,
In the socket–
Could not see–
Slit eye razorlike–
Could not see–
“Bo!” she called out. “Bo!
Is it raining?
I see lightning!”

From his half
Of ragged crazyquilt,
He raised his fist and
Dropped it to her face.
He turned back to sleep.
She gasped, wheezed,
Craned, vomited.
She lay, rocking gently,
Left side, right side,
As if in
A cradle, hands to head.

4 Responses to “72. The Migraine”

  1. Bina Says:

    Fantastic! I can so relate to that.

  2. sshaver Says:

    Bina, I moved your comment to the Welcome page and will respond there.

  3. Nicola Says:

    Brilliant description of migraine – and I should know!

  4. sshaver Says:


    I’m responding on the Welcome page.

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