Lisa Bass

Lisa Bass

My Joy

comes in harrowing bursts,
like now with this ceramic lizard
perched on the rim of my mug,
its tail wraps once around
then blends into a handle,
slight indentations in the clay
tell my fingers where to settle
while I drink my dark coffee
with heavy cream.
My joy pulses out from deep
in my belly or maybe
from higher, from my chest.
filling my empty spaces.
Overflowing. Not unlike
the CO2 Dr. Rodriguez pumped
into my peritoneal cavity last week
before she removed my uterus.
That gas took days to escape,
it filtered through my diaphragm
burrowed into the muscles
that stretch across my shoulder.
My joy presses tight against my pain.
I mean, my mother gave me this mug
more than a decade ago when I moved
three states away into the house
where I’m raising my daughters.
She knew I’d love
its rust matte glaze,
how it’s dishwasher safe.
I sipped from it just this morning,
in bed, holding a heating pad
to my sutures,
facetiming my mom.
Too tired to talk,
I just propped my phone
up on my nightstand
and looked at her
through the screen;
then I doubled up
on extra strength Tylenol
and drifted back to sleep.
But now I lean loose
against my kitchen counter,
I take rich swallows of dark roast.
After my nap, I had my first
bowel movement in over a week.
I washed my hair with lavender
mint shampoo. My joy
comes shot through with longing
it will not linger
for days like that acid gas.
I might have only moments
left before this exhilaration
dissipates, before my joy stops
flowing into my fingertips
where they rest here.

LISA BASS is a poet and writer from California. Her work appears or is forthcoming in such journals as CRAFT, Pidgeonholes, and DEAR; and is anthologized in JMWW: A Modern Times Anthology. She studies and teaches at The Writers Studio. 

More by Lisa Bass:

Flash Fiction in CRAFT Literary
Poetry in Pidgeonholes
Flash Fiction in JMWW