Evidence of Pain. {poetry}


This represents a conversation between a mother and daughter, with pain as the central character.

The poem becomes a channel to have conversations that may be otherwise suppressed because like pain they are difficult to address. It creates a system, an inventory, a release by listing the different ways it can show up. The writing of the poem allows for awareness, of the body, of the emotions, including anger and frustration.

It also demonstrates, at the core, a very vulnerable voice — the voice of every individual who lives with any kind of persistent pain.

Most standard medical questions, doctors’ office experiences, are very insensitive, resulting in the individual undergoing the pain situation feeling unheard, unseen by the very people responsible for actually healing them and leading them to relief.



Because they don’t get it —

            really don’t                                                          

The difference between those

Who live in pain and others?

Because the difference is not

Yoga or

            Dairy or

Vegan or

            Meditation or

Chanting or

            Buddhism or

Niceness factor or

            Distance from work or

View from the studio or

            Dog or cat or musical dissonance —

So, let me just stay with

Putting together for you

a journal of different

phenomena of pain

sifting through me

fissures into my days

nights too

I know you get it —


Still I want to describe flares

carefully and in slow motion

because I love you so much

I want to share

How I bear

with you, I want to share

the anatomy, chemistry, and mechanisms of

my practiced pain

            some ways my pain incarnates —



A water-logged drain

            motivated by the bubbling

            downpour of acidic crystals

The confused New Age seeker

            at an intersection of

            music and bhakti

A bewildered soldier

            coaxed to rate continued trauma

            on digital scales in a cramped clinic

The prick of a burst balloon

            deflated into shriveled

            nothingness of skin

A set of frozen winter brakes

            being pushed to warmth

            spluttering into delirium

That frozen chicken thigh

            ineffectively thawed to life

            color returning in spurts

A cadaver thumped alive

            from apocalyptic bones

            to skin flaming in lust

When an orthodontist clamps

            into my mouth, cold incisors

            jaws clenched in a constant bite



I want to share

the anatomy, chemistry, and mechanisms of

my practiced pain

some ways my pain incarnates


Do I have to rate my

            pain for you?

Do you ever rate your

            love on a scale

Of 1 to 10?

            I am asked to

            be specific with

The physical, mental and

            tactile sensations

I experience, nothing

            Or everything

In individual and sum

            of my parts

Stabbing into my heart

            It is grounding

Even as the pounding

            Takes me over

Through my very being

            Will stay, stubborn

I am building this journal

            For those who ask

These words are for them

            I am a now a pain

Practitioner, gathering all

            Examples of pain

To be better each time

            I am asked to state

            Or to rate my pain.


Kashiana Singh is a management professional by job classification and a work practitioner by personal preference. Kashiana’s TEDx talk was dedicated to Work as Worship. Her poetry collection, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words, presents her voice as a participant and an observer. Her latest digital chapbook, Crushed Anthills, was released by Yavanika Press in May 2020. Her poems have been published on various platforms including Poets Reading the News, Visual Verse, Oddball Magazine, TurnPike Magazine, Café Dissensus, Thieving Magpie, Dissident Voice, Feminine Collective, Spillwords, Poetry Super Highway. Kashiana lives in Chicago, and carries her various geographical homes within her poetry.


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