Eating Toast in the Dark

This is a poem that I wrote in my head over the course of several migraines. If you think it’s depressing, I apologize. I think it’s hilarious, and it cheers me up. This is for all those fellow headache-sufferers out there, most of whom probably have more legit reasons for your pain than being dehydrated.

“Eating Toast in the Dark”

I am a person who loves to move and make and do.

But once every few weeks, I can’t.

It comes on gradually

And more often than not

I don’t notice until it’s too late.

The rest of my day is relegated to bed.

Too awake to sleep,

Too much pain to think too hard

And no light to read anyway

Too nauseous to eat anything but crunchy bread

Reduced to eating toast in the dark.


As I lie here, I categorize the patterns of pain.

The red beetle, pulsating

Triangulated between my right eye and right temple.

The half-facemask, dropping a plumbline

From behind my eye, through my sinus and into my teeth.

The golden half helmet, drawing a line

Over the top of my head

And around one side, under the ears

Perfectly framing the right hemisphere.

I imagine the relief if the whole thing would just peel out

Like a section of orange

With that sticky peely sound.


As I lie here, I imagine

All the ways I’m going to get my crap together so this doesn’t happen again.

I’ll start exercising – running, even.

I’ll eat salads and saute leafy greens.

I’ll remember to take my vitamins.

I’ll stop staying up ’till 3 watching youtube.

I’ll drink more than a tablespoon of water every day, for goodness’ sake.

I’ll call the acupuncturist whose card is bent and broken from living in the pocket of my jeans for three weeks.

Reiki. Healing prayer. Therapeutic massage. Mouthguard. I’ll try them all in a systematic pattern.

I make these plans

Knowing they will fall out of my head when I get up

And wait under my pillow

For the next time I flop down with a cold, wet, washcloth over my eyes.


As I crunch, my jaw pops

Sending waves of lime green light into my cerebellum.

A different person lies in this bed at this occasion,

With different thoughts and feelings than the one that normally occupies this body.

I’m too sick to have her thoughts, and she’s too busy to have mine.

I wonder, if we met, if we would be friends.

I would bore her, and she would irritate me.

I try to sleep, and savor these, my only thoughts,

Rewriting this poem every time

I am reduced to eating toast in the dark.

4 thoughts on “Eating Toast in the Dark

  1. I think it’s funny too. Apparently I’m not the only one who forgets to drink water and then wonders why my quality of life has gone down… and sauteed leafy greens are delicious. Pasta with white beans and greens and sausage is my new favorite.


  2. Anyone who has ever been there knows it is true! And if you are in France, fresh baguettes also hit the spot – as I discovered the morning after a 16 hour car journey into the heat of Provence one August!
    I am sending your poem to my two daughters who also suffer migraines as I know they will identify with it!Thank you – it did make me smile 🙂


  3. Love it – I didn’t find it funny or depressing – just true. I have watched my Mom, sisters and nieces deal with migraines like this and it made me think of them in a different way. I have aura migraines so I don’t end up in that type of pain or in bed (probably should but. . .) Thanks for sharing this – I think I’ll pass it on to my peeps.


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