by the power invested in me, i now pronounce . . .


a rash
on my back.
excruciating pain
thank goodness.
feeling of
general malaise.
pain –
did i mention pain?

i read a book –
totally unrelated –
and note a sentence
about how this man
had endured a
bout of shingles.
i think nothing of it.
days pass.

can’t sleep.
spend hours
trying to isolate
and define
the source of
the cause of
the pain.
does it hurt
when i press here?
how bout here?
does it hurt
more when i push my arm
against some immovable object?
does it make a difference
when my palm faces up?
when i twist this way?
on and on it goes,
this inquiry.

one night
i wake at
3 a.m.
that this is

my family,
concerned about me
and not wanting
to see me in
i go see a doctor.

surely there’s a pill
or a shot
that will make this
all go away,
they say.

let’s be clear about this:
they care about me.
they don’t want to see me suffer.
i get that.
i appreciate that.
but i know my body.
i haven’t always,
but i do now.

for far too long,
my body only existed
to carry my head around,
the head being the royal chambers
of my brain,
the canvas
for any beauty
i might have: my face.

it might take up
more space
than i’d like,
this body of mine,
but oh
the wisdom
i carry
in my bones
in my cells
in my blood.

i know my body
better than any
knows my body,
of how many
letters trail
after our

don’t get me wrong:
there are times
i will seek
and remedy
from doctors,
but today
i ask my body
and it says
just rest.
move slower.
slather on
the anti-itch ointments and lotions.
take over the counter analgesics.
heed my whispers
and this will eventually pass.

if i don’t
visit a doctor,
the only one
with the authority
to declare me
or healthy,
i must keep going
and i must not
those are the house rules.

those have been the house rules.

there’s change
brewing here
as i recognize
and honor
the wisdom,
the knowledge,
the authority
that clatters
in my bones,
that emanates
from my cells,
that flows
this frame.
my head
part of my body
and the
feels like a


  1. Julie Daley

    in dreams the house signifies the body. and, i notice the word shingles can also be about keeping a house/home warm and dry. hmmm.

    a homecoming to a house with new rules…the body’s rules of wisdom and knowing. rest up, dear. rest. rest those bones. move slowly, with grace, the grace that floods your beautiful body’s cells.

    love to you. j

    • whollyjeanne

      oh my jewels, how lucky i am to have you as my writing (pronounced wisdom) partner. i hadn’t considered body as house. of course.
      of course.

    • Anonymous

      Ok, I shouldn’t have responded, because Julie’s response said it all perfectly! 🙂

  2. Meredith

    May you make a speedy recovery and banish that itch! Hope you’ve got some soup and tea to ease your discomfort, too. It’s true — soup and tea really are great remedies. Nothing quite like warm comfort all full of nutrients and love to heal the body and soul. =)

  3. Mrsmediocrity

    a. men.
    i don’t trust doctors, that’s no secret. you know your body best, and you get to listen to the stories it tells you.


  4. Angela

    Well, I really love Julie’s reply–homecomings, house rules, a roof of protection. You two are a wise and wonderful team!

  5. Anonymous

    First, I love the way this post unravels to a homecoming and your own knowing of your body. Second — OMG! I’m so sorry. I had shingles several years ago and I know the pain and burning of which you speak. For the record, the doctors can give you something if you choose that will basically accelerate the infection, so it peaks and heals faster and can keep it from getting really out of control … or at least that’s what they gave me. They also gave me hydrochodone, which I swore i wouldn’t take but by the third day it was my new BFF. Wishing you lots of rest and healing and peace … they say shingles are brought on by extreme stress, so hang in there. XOXO PS Oatmeal baths also helped immensely!

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