National Poetry Month Day 23: Valerie Wetlaufer



The tea must be left on the counter,
or she won’t remember where it is
in the morning. There must be milk

in the fridge. The herbs steep for eight hours
to get the magnesium needed. Besides
the tea, keep the counters clear. Too much
visual noise will interrupt her thoughts.
The pain starts suddenly and spreads,
especially when it’s humid. Or cold. Or rains.
The tip of her tongue, her fingertips,
keep finding pain, not something translated
visually, but there all the same.
If she is beside you, you would not know
she is in agony, but her vision blurs,
she feels faint, and speech slows.
There must be milk in the fridge.

–Valerie Wetlaufer


Valerie Wetlaufer is the author of the Lambda Award-winning book Mysterious Acts by My People (Sibling Rivalry Press 2014), and Call Me by My Other Name (Sibling Rivalry Press 2016). She lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →