'Flash' writing anthology about chronic pain - submissions welcome!

Author: Sara Wasson (Page 9 of 11)

‘Hurting Haikus’, by Vanessa

A photograph taken by someone seated at the top of a small hill, showing their legs at rest.

 Eight months of pain, guilt.
Losing my movement slowly,
Affecting my work.
Pain in my hip, back,

Encroaching on everything.
Physio: please help.Boss can’t understand,
Pretended it wasn’t bad.
I used to be fit.

Practicing patience,
Trying to be kind to self.
But some days that’s hard.


  • by Vanessa

[This image shows my legs in better times, when they were still able to take me on a 15 kilometre hike through the Rocky Mountains. Summer, 2017.]



‘Chime’, by Marion Michell

Lie in the car, stiff as a bell’s tongue, and just as mute. Pain in aspiration stage – still hoping I’ll hurl myself against walls, eager to chime.

After a blurry episode give looking another go. Burgess Park is not itself right now: tiny, lifeless, the green of grass and foliage moulded in the same garish tones. Clouds, birds, a plastic sun, tacked on a smudge of blue. We too minuscule and stuck mid-move in a scale-model some architect should have improved.

Bed, at long last. Limbs scattered like mikado sticks; palms so painful they seem large as cities. Must have crashed across the continent, one hand throbbing in Reykjavik, the other limp in the Aegean Sea. Each crumple in my sheet a mountain ridge or carved out canyon, nuzzling the gash of me. A chore to breathe.

Days shivering in sleety weather zones. I pine for hot. PEMalaise me not!

This image is a collage of two black and white photographs of a hand. The top half shows palm and slightly bent fingers horizontally, the bottom half vertically. The original was photographed in extreme light against white background, in order to achieve pronounced shadows. The latter appear more curved than the fingers themselves.


  • by Marion Michell

Blog and book: Sublimely Supinely


‘Hagalaz’, by Ruth V. Chalkley

In Lithuanian, runoti means both “to cut (with a knife)” and “to speak”.

      Hail: Hagalaz
      Pain, loss, suffering, hardship, sickness, crisis.



        Sometimes, some time,



‘And for a long time’, by Amy Allara

Small branch with wire.And for a long time 

She wanted to tell it to someone 
place it in the visible world— 

yet nothing she could speak of 
nor anything she had been told. 

In our residences, 
the old-fashioned exile 
of unwelcome subjects 
to guard against 
the wrong arrangement of text.

How to narrate an illness 
in fairer climates and 
to fair-weather figures. 

How not to.


  • by Amy Allara


‘i want my mom’, by socks

i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom i want my mom

  • by socks

‘The Sick Mother’, by Amy Wray Irish

(after a poem by Jane Kenyon)

The sick mother stayed in the car
During swimming, music, dance.
Not yet fifty,
She had learned the many ways
The able-bodied become just bodies.

Afternoon always came too quick
With its carpools and constant motion.
She was still the secretary
Of details and schedules. 
Still indispensable.

So in between finding the lost
Shoes or suits or permission slips 
And driving– always driving–
She tilted her seat back, tucked
A swim towel or bag beneath her head

And let the pain pill sweep her into freedom.
Free from the other mothers, lips pursed,
Pulling their children away from hollow eyes.
Free from the fathers, eyebrows raised,
Lingering to admire gaunt cheekbones.

Fever-flushed under windshield glass
She is free to dream a storybook self,
And a kiss to break the curse
Of endless doctors, tests, and drugs.
A fairy tale of never being sick again.


– by Amy Wray Irish

To read more see Creation Stories, a book of poetry and art by Amy Wray Irish

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