Fathom Mag


A poem

Published on:
February 11, 2019
Read time:
1 min.
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It’s one of those things you can’t see
or measure, but you know it's there,

insisted the Chinese doctor. 

I knew exactly what he meant—
I could say the same thing about love
or madness or thoughts of rain. 

He pointed to a map on the wall—
it could have been a map of the New York subway,
or the circuitry diagram for a microchip,

except that all the lines ran over a human form,
and the lines ran along points with poems for names,
like “Little Marsh” and “Spirit Door” and “Listening Palace.” 

It makes sense that you are having pain,
he said, as he placed the needle into the cool skin
on the top of my left foot, then placed another 

above the fourth toenail of my left foot. This one
is called “Extreme Yin,”
he said, good for your headaches
and sleeping problems and also for dreams of ghosts. 

I wondered how he knew
that only two nights before, my friend who died last spring
appeared for a second, beautiful and laughing, 
then vanished again into my dream. 

Julie Sumner
Julie Sumner is a writer who has worked as a critical care nurse, transplant coordinator, and massage therapist. She recently completed her MFA at Seattle Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Fathom, The Cresset, Juxtaprose, San Pedro River Review, Catalpa Magazine, and The Behemoth.

Cover image by Jon Tyson

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