365 Poems/77 The Sickness (Rough first draft)

The Sickness

For over a decade,

my skin, tongue, hair,

hands, face and breath

smelt of sickness.

Like I was rotting

from the inside.


My heart wasn’t

the right colour,

and it didn’t beat

a strong, steady rhythm.

It panicked and hiccupped.

It was like a rough chough

in my chest.


My veins protruded

from my forearms

and hands like frozen pipes.


My dull, ashen tone

scared most people

into thinking

I was already dead.


Back then, I would have

rather drank

a pint of moonshine

than make conversation.


I didn’t have time to think.

My thoughts were cold

at the back of my head.

Everything was one military

routine after another,

followed by abuse

and sacrifice.


I couldn’t walk around

the house without something

cracking or someone bursting into tears.


The Death most thought I’d met

was there. She was just

waiting round the corner,

filing her nails to points.


But as my organs started

to show through

my tissue paper thin skin,

and people’s happiness

folded in on my arrival,

I realised I was sick of being

something you’d rather turn away from,

than someone you’d walk towards and get to know.


Death can have my bones

one winter, when I am old,

and have lived a healthy life.

When I am ready.