V2 Issue 2‎ > ‎

Meredith Maltby

Acupuncture Poem


With a practice rooted so deeply in the past,

I was warned the procedure could take the form

of wolves.

I immediately fell supine on the table

to activate change.


With watermelon incense and chimes

needling my consciousness, I was told

personalization was possible. 


Despite being twenty,

I was given Hello Kitty needles, without comment.


The procedure began.

There was little pain, just dreams.


Two dreams marked physically by

a commercial cat, two dreams of the past

I was warned about.


            I dreamed a grid:


Top-to-bottom highlighted map of

my own body, mid-procedure,

purplish knees, ice blue lips, nothing but

color cruelty. Heat map.


Except for the midsection—

My stomach, a picnic blanket. Red & white

patriotism, needles raised up

like birthday candles.


I was a flag on a table.


Everything was easier before I added fifty more stars

to my own national ideology.    

Before I became too grand for my own good.


            I dreamed a star:


One, and numerous already

in my rip-scratched night sweater.


There was little pain, just dreams.

I woke up on the table,

gasping like a fish for meanings,

for auras and dreams, for answers

behind the colors on the grid.


I was assured that anxiety was normal,

Pushed gently back to the table

like a lover.


            There was no one moment of clarification.


I left the office with twenty-one bug bites,

twenty-one attempts to wake my body anew,

still so cold, still a purplish, ice blue grid.


Later I will learn to meditate,

Trusting only the needles of sleep

in my own hands.



I was open like a bear trap



I scratched underneath


my chin and felt




a whole bed


right underneath

the jaw


I pushed straight


with bee fingers,


Broke easily through



One glorious


stag beetle,


Ladybugs dropping

steadily, ants

on stray



Whole arm thrusting through



I am here

in the center,

I would like you

to go now


Let me probe

the self inside



the lions

in my ear-




Meredith Maltby is from Glen Ellyn, Illinois and studies at Tulane University. She is a relatively new student of meditation and wishes she could live permanently inside of a cumulus cloud. Meredith has previously published her work in OVS Magazine, Vending Machine Press, Pif Magazine, Prairie Margins, and was a featured reader at Design Cloud Chicago’s HERE / NOW event.