Going to the Acupuncturist in the Market

This entry is part 38 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


“Earwigs, of the order Dermaptera. Dermaptera is Greek in origin, stemming from … dermatos, meaning skin, and pteron, wing. It was coined by Charles De Geer in 1773. The common term, earwig, is derived from the Old English eare, which means ear, and wicga, which means insect.”

Despite the throbbing in your temples and
the growing migraine heat behind each pupil,
your job is to find the second alley to the right
in the direction of the old Hangar Building.

You will pass the butchers and meat-sellers,
their garlands of sausages hanging from hooks
surrounded by adoring flies. You will pass
the widows with their baskets of bitter

melon, banana hearts sheathed in purple
husks, yellow squash flowers wilting
in the heat. The one with the glass eye
tells fortunes. If you find yourself among

the sellers of grain, you will have walked
too far. Turn back and look for a narrow
passageway between the noodle shop and
the shoe repairer. Watch for the weathered

green door and follow the steps to the third
floor landing. Don’t mind the old men smelling
of tobacco smoke or incense hunched on the bench,
eyes closed, motionless as tokers. The acupuncturist

waits under a naked bulb in the room. He bows and holds
a pair of silver calipers aloft like a wizened insect.
He swabs the inside of each ear with a cotton ball
dipped in sterile fluid, and picks the tiniest

tacks from the tray of needles. He twirls them
into the rubbery folds of skin where they’ll lodge
for a week under the topmost crease of your ear
and probe the meridians of your hidden pains.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← What You Don’t Always SeeMigrant Letters →

3 Replies to “Going to the Acupuncturist in the Market”

    1. Thanks Uma. :) I used to go to a Chinese acupuncturist back in my home city to get “permanent” (they were meant to stay in place at least a week at a time though) needles in my earlobes, for migraine.

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