The Art Teacher in Pain

She does hide things, that is true
A heart murmur from birth,
Repeated injuries to her right shoulder.

On our way to Italy this spring
We have to change planes
Look: I trip on an escalator
Traversing the airport in Atlanta
She falls right behind me
But does not tell me for months.

Now she has hurt herself again
By lifting items such as TVs
From the back of the house
To the front, into the garage
For a nickel-and-dime garage sale.
Hoping to make a few dollars.

That night she feels stabbing pain
She wakes up at two a.m., and rises
To wander for a place to rest somewhere.

Next day I take her to the our family doctor
Whom she has not seen since 1998.
He is like a quickly-traveling bird
Who has seen it all.

Gently he injects her with cortisone
To assure of healing
The promise of physical relief
And a return to normalcy.
That would happen some weeks off
Till then she will suffer.

She still teaches her art students
Chats and laughs about anything
Favors the shoulder yet no one is fooled.

Toward the end of her lesson,
The girl who comes on Mondays
And does most of the work, says:
"Why are you favoring your arm today?"

A Thousand Miles Away

Colorado, a place to dream
Called Little Switzerland.
I flew 1000 miles. My cousin picked me up
At the Grand Junction airport
"Everything is different here," he explained.
"This includes even flight cancellations
That are later rescheduled."

We drove 100 miles to to his house
Where I spent a week in the guest room.
I brought no companions.

This would prove to be a time to sleep late
Sit in a swivel chair, drink coffee
Admire the mountains far off
Talk late in the night getting to know my relatives
Assist in tending the llamas
Roam the woods with the German shepherd
And hike around a nearly dry lake.

One day we drove up into the mountains
To the small town of Ouray
Spent hours in the hot springs
In multiple pools of varying temperatures
Up to one hundred six degrees.

I could not handle the upper limits
Yet the lower temperatures
Provided relief
In these seemingly structural, shining mountains.

An unpredicted shower did come later that day
Inundating the town.

Scratches on a Brand-New Car

The shock began after we leased a new Honda.
That night I parked it in the garage at home.
I guess I parked it too close to the garage door opener.
When my wife opened the garage door the next day,
The rear fender struck the door opener.
She screamed about her new car.
We returned the car; perhaps something could be done.
The Honda salesman shrugged it off as minor:
"Happens all the time," he explained.
"Just touch it up with this paint."

A couple of days later, the tables turned.
Backing out of the garage,
I scratched the front fender on the left side.
Hysteria again, from me this time.
My wife performed magic again.
The Accord almost looks new.
Almost, that is.
If you look closely, you can see the scratches.

I am paranoid about scratching the car.
When I back the car out, I worry what will happen next.
My biggest mistake: coming back from Italy.

© Tom Bourne

His poetry has appeared in, Epicenter and Autographsmagazine. Contact him at