Tearing

Jim Ross


When you break a bone badly, and it mends,
but does not meld exactly, is not flush
one part to another,
you break it again, or let it
be broken for you, 
because you trust, and accept,
it must be re-set.

You break open a wound, or let it be broken
open, if the wound turns red
and radiates heat and infection 
runs rampant   You allow it because
you trust, and accept, 
it must be cleaned and re-closed.

You break open your mind when
it bursts already—“positive disintegration” 
they used to call it—but now they want you 
to get back to work in five days 
with your polished coping 
skills, a different mindset.

When your spirit cries out in anguish
and you cannot see the light 
and darkness draws you in,
you want to rend the darkness 
thinking it has swallowed the light.  
It gets so hard to trust 
that darkness and light are
one, and need not be torn apart.

Are there spirit bone doctors?


After retiring from a career in public health research in early 2015, Jim Ross resumed creative pursuits in hopes of resuscitating his long-neglected left brain. He's since published 75 pieces of nonfiction, a dozen poems, and 200 photos in 80 journals in North America, Europe, and Asia. His publications include 1966, Bombay Gin, Columbia Journal, Gravel, Ilanot Review, Lunch Ticket, Kestrel, MAKE, The Atlantic. Last year, he wrote and acted in his first play. He and his wife--parents of two health professionals and grandparents of four wee ones--split their time between Maryland and West Virginia.