Have You Ever Heard Of Dupuytren's Contracture?

Aside from all the obvious ailments associated with age and not worth
mentioning, I’ve suddenly developed a symptom with a name I relish:
“Dupuytren’s contracture,” after a physician famous for treating Napoleon
Bonaparte’s hemorrhoids. What a lovely sounding French word: Du/from,
puy, a homonym for puits/well, and tren for train/ train. Sounds
predestined that arrière-train/rear train also refers to the derrière.

When I think of the sci-fi movie starring Raquel Welch in which
a miniaturized submarine was injected into a vein in order to perform
microscopic surgery, I imagine a small train racing across the network
of nerves intersecting throughout my entire body, and the many stops
required to extract noxious substances from invisible wells.

I look at Dupuytren’s early signs inside my palms: a tiny bone growth
spurting where the smaller fingers’ proximal phalanges articulate at the
level of my heart line. I’ve learned to press my hands together tightly to
prevent my fingers from ever being crooked. Glad this is a yoga posture
I’ve practiced for years. It is also a silent prayer.

Entrapment within a Douanier Rousseau Painting

After The Dream by Henri Rousseau

My dream is unlike your lover’s Yadwigha who lay naked
on a sofa in midst of the jungle, staring at a couple of tame
lions listening to the sound of the flute of a snake charmer.
In this, your last painting, she offers the tapestry of her skin
to the lush foliage as the feline’s golden eyes reflect the light
in your gaze and hers. Her posture, unlike Goya’s Naked Maja’s
nonchalant recline, is tense and well aware of the voyeuristic
glances hiding beneath every heavy branch. She points at a
mysterious onlooker that even you can’t capture on the canvas.
As for me, let me tell you about the pressure in my chest as I
doze off half-conscious of an imminent danger lurking outside
the house. With eyes closed, I see wild beasts, lions shaking
majestic manes, and tigers advancing stealthily around the house.
I know I’m trapped inside, the darkness enabling me to peek at
the way these creatures prey in slow motion behind overgrown
ferns and spiderworts sword-like leaves rising taller by the minute.
But I’m the only one aware of such aberrant presence since I’m
home alone and won’t dare to move or open any door.

Hedy Habra‘s third poetry collection, The Taste of the Earth, won the 2020 Silver Nautilus Award, Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was finalist for the USA Best Book Award. Tea in Heliopolis won the USA Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes was finalist for the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention. She is a seventeen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. hedyhabra.com