September 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Four
Justin Barrett
putting it all in perspective

i feel like i'm twice
my age:
arthritis in the knees,
hemorrhoids,
daily fiber requirements,
a bad case of forgetfulness.

i just turned 30
three weeks ago and tonight
i have one of the worst
cases of heartburn i've
ever had.

it's hereditary.

my father has heartburn,
his father has it.

we worry until
we corrode the mucus lining
of our own stomachs.

but, just when i
try to remind myself i'm
only 30 and i'm not
falling apart, that i'm
just experiencing a
little discomfort given me by
faulty genetics;
my wife, being concerned,
asks me if i feel a
burning, radiating pain
in my left arm, or
if i am experiencing dizziness or
nausea or shortness of breath.

she's convinced i'm having
a heart attack, and
wants to take
me to the emergency room.

and it's just one more
thing for me
to worry about.