the meaning of feeble

during the day

august in mid-heat, 
i learn the meaning 
of the word feeble.


in the morning, my uterus 
(size of a pear) felt the crush 
of an unborn baby's hands.  my forearms 
and feet chilled, blood rushed 
to the whorl of furious strain 
in my belly.  i've learned that 
bearing the pain like the ancients 
conveys little relief in this era 
of disbelief — brings no rain, 
no endorphins flooding to obliterate 
the ache of arched smooth muscle.  
i reached for the bedside cabinet, 
no liquor, instead a motley of pills, 
liquids, creams.  a box of children's 
grape-flavored throat lozenges.  pills,
prescription strength ibuprofen
from my operation.  a tube of hemorrhoid 
cream, a common curse of pregnancy.  there! 
the blue-boxed menstrual formula, thank 
god, take enough and i would feel 
like walking among seraphims.


     now, leaning, lethargic in 
my chair at work, my mind is dazed, 
drifting; my body, feeble, while
the slightest arm movement or twitch 
of finger saps my physique of animation,
the reserves empty.  every word has 
visual connotations — i envision a 
feeble old man; a sick patient: feeble; 
a wounded soldier, gashed and feeble; a dog
with tire marks, twitching yet feeble; 
a woman after being beaten, feeble.  myself: 
bleeding, drugged, feeble, progressively 
weaker and afraid that if i stand up and 
move anywhere, i might faint.


     after work, i scrounge a free roll left in the staff room
and walk, breathing heavily, past the main plaza outside.  
behind the construction fences, i see a medium-sized tractor, 
heavy metal, weighty, thick, full tires, blunt scoop.  who 
could have thought of designing such a machine, its tread 
and maw churning through generations of life, seed, 
bringing death across this giving earth.