Paula Harris

the weight of pain

in 1945 Dr Lorand Julius Bela Gluzek of Cleveland, Ohio
developed a dolorimeter which could measure pain in grams
so maybe the weight I gained on antidepressants
wasn’t from sadness and an increased appetite
but my organs and glands – thyroid, pancreas, lungs, 
adrenal glands, ovaries, stomach, hypothalamus – 
each getting heavier from the consumption of black bile

the weight of the water inside the mouth of a blue whale
can weigh more than the whale itself
so if I dive into the ocean and convince a blue whale to swallow me
I will leave my sadness on its tongue and be weightless

Paula Harris lives in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where she writes and sleeps in a lot, because that’s what depression makes you do. She won the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, and the 2017 Lilian Ida Smith Award. Her writing has been published in various journals, including Hobart, Berfrois, The Rialto, Barren, SWWIM, Diode, Glass, Aotearotica, and The Spinoff. She is extremely fond of dark chocolate, shoes and hoarding fabric. website: | Twitter: @paulaoffkilter | Instagram: @paulaharris_poet | Facebook: @paulaharrispoet