Patti Tana 

Absence of Pain

Not in prelude to prayer
more clumsy than humble
you fall on your knees
when you trip on a root
while walking your dog
and the dog licks your face
as you stare at the ground
pain shooting from knees
up your thighs to your back
where it simmers for days
till you make a small turn
and a flash of raw pain   
stops the flow of your day
a red thread of pain
laces your life
reminding you that
the absence of pain
can't be taken for granted.


Patti Tana is Professor Emerita of English at Nassau Community College (SUNY) and the Walt Whitman Birthplace 2009 Long Island Poet of the Year. Her eighth collection of poems is Any Given Day  (Whittier Publications, Inc., 2011). She is editor of the Songs of Seasoned Women poetry anthology and associate editor of the Long Island Quarterly. To listen to Patti read her poems, please visit