Arthritis – Pat Hanahoe-Dosch

I can only watch
as perennial weeds wreathe my shed,
fence in my garden, infiltrate
tomato and cucumber vines,
blockade the marigolds and lemongrass
planted to repel flying and crawling pests.

Pain garrotes my back and knees,
as though overgrown with nettles,
as though choked by barberry thorns
puncturing deep into bone and joint.

Wild grass winds its death hold into the daylilies
who should survive most anything but
grass grows thick and wide inside the clumps
of stems and leaves, so they wither,
lose strength to stand straight and flower.

I planted through the pain in spring,
wanting a garden, a pretty yard,
but unable to bend and kneel
in the required maintenance.
Now, it’s all overgrown, shriveling, constricted
by wild, rampant intruders: wizened
beauty and fruit helpless before the onslaught.

SONY DSCPat Hanahoe-Dosch has an MFA from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and is currently a Professor of English at a Pennsylvania community college. Two books of her poems, The Wrack Line and Fleeing Back, can be found on or the FutureCycle Press website. Her poems have been published in Rattle, The Paterson Literary Review, The Atticus Review, War, Art and Literature, Confrontation, Apt, among many others. You can read more of her work by going to http://pathanahoedosch.blogspot.omhttp://path.