Tipton Poetry Journal – Winter 2021
The Body’s Refusal to Function as Intended
Simona Carini I take a bite from an apple, make a hollow, chew slowly, halt: cannot swallow. When muscles work in concert, in sequence, actions follow. Not now, though: nothing moves and I cannot swallow. With effort I shove the bolus down, stow the apple. Inhaling hurts: I’m lacerated inside by the hard swallow. I reel and through closed eyes I probe the sorrow: What is it my body refuses to swallow? Friends want my help when lovers leave them hollow, teachers press me towards a choice they want me to swallow. My parents’ grieving silence grinds me: I should live at home until I marry, work close by—customs I refuse to swallow. If I cannot feed myself, I’ll waste away, turn hollow. Enough of demands and complaints. I’ll fly away as my own swallow.
Born in Perugia, Italy, a graduate of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan, Italy) and of Mills College (Oakland, California), Simona Carini writes poetry and nonfiction and has been published in various venues, in print and online, including Intima - A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Italian Americana, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, the American Journal of Nursing, Star 82 Review. She lives in Northern California with her husband and works as a data scientist at an academic research institution. Her website is https://simonacarini.com