Fathom Mag

M Y  M O N K I S H  L I F E

the mediation of a chronically ill woman

Published on:
March 13, 2024
Read time:
2 min.
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I fell asleep late last night
reading Isaiah
and dreamt about gardens
and prophecy.
I had nowhere I needed to be
when I woke,
so I slept in bed until noon,
listening to the rain hit the roof.
And when I opened my eyes,
I witnessed the humidity’s dew
gather so gently
and drop down the windowpane
and cry tears like we do.


Then, I watched my pup awake
with my movements and rhythms
to do her faithful stretches—
a happy baby,
a downward dog.
And she reminded me
in her ease
that I should do more yoga
because they say
it’s good for the pain.


It’s so quiet now.
I can hear the prayers in my head
and poetry lines run on and on.
So much so, I can’t catch them all.
So, I think I may drink my coffee in bed
and learn to soak this silence in
some more, while my body rejects
the world and what it used to do.


And then I’ll stop and write to you:
Listen, I think I can hear God overheard
because I finally understand
I am not a performance
or what others have said I am.
My worth is not measured by
what I am not producing here (in this bed).
It’s almost as if my monkish life
is helping me to forget
all the broken parts in my past
and in my body
and those who have gone
because of it.
Time is good at making
hazy fragments
fog over like glass.
And God is good at healing.


Yes, I think I’ll drink my coffee in bed,
turn the clocks facedown,
read some Romans or Rumi or Rilke
out loud—
and keep relearning.
And maybe later
if I can get this ache in my belly to stop,
I’ll go study the clouds
because for the first time in my life
I am living the art of “now.”

Kimberly Phinney
Kimberly Phinney is a national award-winning AP English instructor and professional photographer. She’s been published in Ruminate, Ekstasis, The Dewdrop, Amethyst Review, Calla Press, Heart of Flesh, Agape Review, and The Write Launch, among others. She has her M.Ed. in English and studied at Goddard’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She is a poetry editor with Agape Review. After almost dying from severe illness in 2021, she’s earning her doctorate in counseling to help the marginalized and suffering. Visit her literary community at www.TheWayBack2Ourselves.com and on Instagram @thewayback2ourselves.

Cover image by Hayley Murray.