Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Acupuncture Land

Chinese Doctor Doll

I visited Dr. Jin today, lay on the table with needles poking out everywhere, and when she left the room, I closed my eyes, drowsy under the heat lamp, my mind immediately going to the places where it goes when I visit her. I go to my other life, another life, the quiet Chinese restaurant where I worked briefly as a hostess, ushering people to their dark booths, skirting the desiring eyes of Jackson the Chinese waiter who permed his hair and told me that I was from a James Bond movie, for your eyes only, he'd whisper, the water in the plastic pitcher tremoring in his hand. I go to a house in the country, the top floor and a spindle bed where afterwards he'd lie on the floor, one ear pressed to hear the screams of the couple who lived below us and we'd laugh, raucously over the fields and then I'm in an office in Nashville in my business skirt and hose my glass office in front of Joni the receptionist with her frosted hair and her careful nails and the plastic wheel where she'd place the pink message slips and I'd spin it around and finally escaped into a walk-in closet, the floor rough beneath me, fabric brushing my face, the hum of the air-conditioner, my onion hands after work that took me to the city, the larger city and the doctor gently knocks and walks in so I stop and open my eyes. She smiles and takes the needles out.

Chinese Foot Chart

Every part of us
alerts another part.
Press a spot in
the tender arch and 
feel the scalp
twitch. We are no 
match for ourselves
but our own release.
Each touch
uncatches some
remote lock. Look,
boats of mercy
embark from 
our heart at the
oddest knock.

-- Kay Ryan, from The Best of It, New and Selected Poems


  1. So beautiful, Elizabeth, the way the acupuncture needles alert one part of you to another part, so deliciously etched in your memory.

  2. isn't it amazing where the mind goes during treatment? same thing happens when I'm getting a massage...oh the things that pop into my head!

    the poem is fabulous.

  3. Lovely. and you're right--it's all connected.

  4. Absolutely marvelous piece of writing.
    One of my most profound spiritual experiences was lying, waiting, with the needles in. You took me back there. Just wonderful!

  5. Oh oh oh! I feel better now than acupuncture could ever make me feel. I'm guessing.

    ps. Kay Ryan is tops

  6. Gorgeous and so evocative. I loved this.

  7. Oh, more...please. This is just outstanding.

  8. You press a spot in your arch and I feel *my* scalp twitch.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  9. AAAAAh.

    "The boats of mercy." What an image!

  10. I should try acupuncture. :)
    (ps beautifully written).



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