On Measuring Pain

On a scale of one to ten,
How bad is the pain?
How much are you suffering?

Always wonder how
Pain is measured,
How one can be expected to
Quantify one’s suffering on a scale for all,
When pain is relative to the
Beholder’s state and way of being,
Her body, mind, and soul?

Whose pain is greater–
That of the woman who cradles her child,
Dead in her arms,
Moments after he has arrived into this world,
Or that of the mother who is to
Say goodbye to a son she has loved for two decades, or four?
Whose here suffering is greater?

Does it hurt more to be abandoned by
A mother or a father?
A lover or a friend?
Does an infant whose
Mother nestles her into
Another woman’s arms and
Leaves for a day at work
Hurt more than the
Grandmother whom
No one comes to visit at the nursing home?
Is it the child’s wailing that hurts more, or the
Silence in the grandmother’s soul?
On a scale of one to ten,
Which of these pains is
More difficult to bear?

Does it pain more to lose one’s
Freedom than
Never to have been free at all?
Does it hurt more to have one’s
Wisdom teeth mined out of one’s mouth than to
Have one’s heart broken into
Unrecognizable shards?
Whose here agony is greater
In these moments?
Is it the body that hurts more, or the soul, and
Where in the mind is the scale and stick that
Measure suffering down to a
Number we can call
When agony arrives?

On a scale of one to ten,
Does it pain a soul more to
Be known, or to
Be forever unacknowledged?
Does it hurt more to be
Unable to give birth to a child, or to
Have no water and food for the
Children who did arrive?

Whose suffering is greater–
That of the man who pushes a
Boat carrying everyone he loves,
All his reasons for being,
Into the open sea with
Only a prayer that
They will arrive, or that of the
Girl whose body is
Entered and ravaged by a
Monster who doesn’t care to see that
She is a child?

How bad is your pain,
On a scale of one to ten?

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