Matthew Rohrer

Alternatives to Pain

Don’t think about a fox running around a barn, he suggested, a small red fox
highstepping through the grass in the dark-grey shade
of a light-grey barn, the day stunningly bright,
the insects stunned and idling.
For days I thought of nothing
but this fox—at night I was horribly buffeted
on an immense game board.
And my little body was a lighthouse of pain.
And it filled with a mean, red heat that was not relieved
by the coloring books delivered to me.
But when I think of this fox now, he does not run around the barn,
he stands utterly still, with one paw raised above the grass,
in a long dark swath of shade. He does not move at all.
Pain is locked away in the barn.