We’re More Than a Political Statement

Natalie Thompson

I’ve said pain so many times
It’s become my name
And the name of many others
Who’ve been renamed
“Too difficult” on their medical charts,
Hopeless, not even worth the copay
Stop answering their calls

We wither in our beds
Make believe they’re our graves
And all this pain will end.

We were the ones who didn’t believe in destiny
Until the doctor said our rate of suicide
Was upwards of 50%
(You better watch her closely
One day she’ll try)

Until our bodies were s h a t t e r e d
And the DEA made it clear there was one
And it doesn’t start with M
And end with -edicine.

Our Doctors are taking back the scripts
While their medical degrees
Become arrest warrants.
Don’t forget about us

Don’t forget about us
As we sit on the bottom step of the stairs
Unable to get up at the ripe age of 22
No longer sure who to pray to
But my body is alive
Pulsing in every part
My hips feel out of place
And my knees are falling off
My body is dismembering itself
Don’t forget about us
As I hide away
Scared of my own anger

Don’t forget all Those who’ve tried
Acupuncture, physical therapy,
SSRIs dumped down my throat
And NSAIDs burning a hole in my stomach
Needles piercing through my kneecap
The sweet burn of lidocaine

Truly everything,
But tears are our only certainty
Filled with hope-less, grey exam tables and
Crinkling white paper,
And bottomless nausea.
We’ve been torn apart
And broken
This life is hard
And surviving is even harder.

Don’t forget us in this mess
We just want you to care,
Friends, Family, Senators
And Doctors.
Anyone please help care
For us too.
We’re more than a statistic
My pain can’t be measured
Not 1 to 10 or
47,000 people
Don’t Forget Us.

And all our brothers and sisters
We lost to the pain
A number I can’t tell you
Because it doesn’t exist.
Not worth studying
All those lives
Not lost because the medicine

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