Meredith Maltby

Acupuncture Poem With a practice rooted so deeply in the past,I was warned the procedure could take the formof wolves.I immediately fell supine on the tableto activate change. With watermelon incense and chimesneedling my consciousness, I was toldpersonalization was possible. Despite being twenty,I was given Hello Kitty needles, without comment. The procedure began.There was little pain, just dreams. Two dreams marked physically bya commercial cat, two dreams of the pastI was warned about. I dreamed a grid: Top-to-bottom highlighted map ofmy own body, mid-procedure, purplish knees, ice blue lips, nothing but color cruelty. Heat map. Except for the midsection— My stomach, a picnic blanket. Red & whitepatriotism, needles raised uplike birthday candles. I was a flag on a table. Everything was easier before I added fifty more starsto my own national ideology. Before I became too grand for my own good. I dreamed a star: One, and numerous alreadyin my rip-scratched night sweater. There was little pain, just dreams.I woke up on the table,gasping like a fish for meanings,for auras and dreams, for answersbehind the colors on the grid. I was assured that anxiety was normal,Pushed gently back to the tablelike a lover. There was no one moment of clarification. I left the office with twenty-one bug bites,twenty-one attempts to wake my body anew,still so cold, still a purplish, ice blue grid. Later I will learn to meditate,Trusting only the needles of sleepin my own hands. I was open like a bear trap Once—I scratched underneath my chin and feltrosebushes Yes—a whole bed right underneaththe jaw I pushed straightupwith bee fingers, Broke easily throughtwigs, One gloriousorangestag beetle, Ladybugs droppingsteadily, antson strayleaves— Whole arm thrusting throughnowYes—I am herein the center,I would like youto go now Let me probethe self insidemyself, the lionsin my ear-lobes Meredith Maltby is from Glen Ellyn, Illinois and studies at Tulane University. She is a relatively new student of meditation and wishes she could live permanently inside of a cumulus cloud. Meredith has previously published her work in OVS Magazine, Vending Machine Press, Pif Magazine, Prairie Margins, and was a featured reader at Design Cloud Chicago’s HERE / NOW event.