Dry Needling

Dry Needling – Emma Bolden


I told the doctor I couldn’t feel                                                             it was Alabama & August &
everything came up kudzu                                                                                                clucking the
orange off                                     a far & feathered sky                                                                     the
doctor requested further information
the doctor wondered if                                                                              instead of not feeling I
meant I felt wrongly, was I pegging my hopes                                                                    into a girl’s
hole, into a circle
that did not belong to me                                                                               the doctor wondered if
I was wrong                                                                                                                    I had no right
I could not come                                                                                          to the terms made by men
who tried to make me                                                                                                           I found no
rest between body                                                                                                     & bedsheet under
the cut & thrust                                                                                           I could not whet, I was not
blade nor blossom                                                                                    the doctor desired more details
bade me say it plain & so I said                                                             by no faith or felon have I fallen
have I found the place within                                                                     my body wishing well enough
to be
the point of entry                                                                                      the point was the entry
of another body                                                                                               the doctor said
& I blanked because                                                                                                      I couldn’t
the point was it was August                                                                                        & everything
the feathered orange off the sky                                                                  the doctor asked of
me only
my body laid down                                                                                                        on the tabled
paper on which he mapped                                                               a plan to make me from my
pain into
a place that was at least willing                                                              to take, the doctor
asked of me
until he was not question but                                                                 answer, until the orange
through the side of his voice, I felt                                                steeled my body against the
steel of
him & his hand against                                                                    the side of my legs as he told
me to
open, he told me to spread, the paper                                                              had drawn me into
a place
where refusal was disobedience where I                                      doubted, I knew I would be a bad
patient if I
said no & so I opened to the needles                                 stuck into my private pink, neon with pain I
tabled as a sky under every man I had                                                  every man said there was
wrong with me & my body so my bad body                                             & I had asked the doctor for
to be feathered to flight under the orange of                                           a man & his lamps to say
yes to say
yes to say I want this I want to be                                                         righted, unwronged I want to be
cured &
so I & my body lay tabled                                                                                    white, I felt the pink in me,
I felt
its brightest places peeled                                                                                   an orange feathered
into violet
under the violence of                                                                                         his hands I told myself to
believe in
the Lord of scalpel, injection,                                                              every antiseptic odor, this was
the place                                     it was August I had come with                                           my body
because it was an it heavy under
my own uselessness, I could never                                                    heel to a hand that brought me to
a sun-
burst, I told myself to believe in                                                        the beauty of blankness between
the word
I & the right verb would follow                                                                   I was falling under, I was a
falling out
against every crossed-out bulb & orange                                  clucked off the lights, the doctor had his
the doctor said beneath my most private pink                                  my nerves knotted themselves into
triggers &
if I could take it I could fake it                                                             if he dry-needled each knot enough
it’d un-
spool inside the want I needed to be                                                          normal, the doctor proposed a
of the body only as a means                                                                                     without end, the doctor
when he talked about me a tunnel                                                                            a door, a hall & way in
the back
of my throat I felt not warm but warming                                                  up the scales of a fish slit from its
skin, I
kept in my mind the image                                                                                          of a line peeling
itself away
from water & into the steep                                                                                        into curve of a cold
wave of
sweat or whatever washed over                                                                                me, I was over it, I was
to heel before he made me break                                                              orange, I saw in his hand his
needles silver
the doctors had his sharps & I                                                                 was a note never quite hit right, he
asked me
did it hurt did it hurt did it hurt from top-                                                                  scalp to toe bare & then I
feeling or a storm was coming, I wasn’t                                                                    the electricity of green
clouds up into a threat where had he touched                                                                 me had he touched
me with
his needles into my pinks he had stuck his needles                                               his needles he sharped into
me over
& over into the zero into which I could                                              fall, I saw my own body as
landscape &
this was exactly the problem, he said                                                           I needed to focus on pleasure
in order
to feel pleasure but all I could feel was                                                his silversharp his silversharp falling
out of
order & genus into a species where                                                    pain thrived in a kingdom no man nor
finger could enter, why had I come                                                                  here, why was my
worth                         for every him I saw only in the tide                                                  pulling the wet of
my body towards him
you will have to learn to love the pain                                                                  the doctor said with his
you will have to let the pain become                                                            the lesson you learn
for him                                                   for his need remember you will                                never be enough,
for the purpose of woman is                                                                             cleave to your man even if
his entrance should cleave you in two like his silversharp this oranged electric
pain my initiation into a religion where the only                                         principle of faith was
that this                                                                                      fault the frigid lack that unworthed me
was all my body                                                                                                                                  was all my own