The Sickness/ A Poem From The Archives

The Sickness

For over a decade,
my skin, tongue, hair,
hands, face, 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.