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Only Pain

Only Pain

'It's only pain,' she says, appearing to shrug,
almost hiding her rigid back, her drawn white face, tight mouth.
The truth is, she is afraid of what is worse than this.
She fears it comes soon: her death.
And that dying will lacerate her with pain even more shriekingly extreme.
She's practising how to hold upright back, calm face against collapse,
against the screams she won't allow being heard.

(A fictional character, compounded of various people observed over the years.)

Sharing this poem at Poets United's Poetry Pantry #435