The skin I wear
The skin I wear is a covering
for my bones and flesh
and I’m glad it holds it in
but wonder sometimes
why and sigh
about the pain I’m in.
It’s not as if I’ve fallen
or didn’t watch where I was going,
I was plodding on quite well I thought
and tried to do what I’d been taught –
I enjoyed it all in a way.
Can I use a vacuum cleaner?
Why do you ask? I used to
work full time and be the breadwinner
and I can’t help wondering whether
you would have asked that of a man.
I can somehow think you know
I’m still here in a way,
I think so, anyway.
It’s 2am and my body is on fire. Every cell is boiling. Sweat creeps from my pores. It only takes a moment to soak through my favourite t-shirt, then through the sheets and mattress covered in yellow imprints.
I can’t get any fucking sleep. This happens to me every night, up to ten times. Then 40 times a day, no matter the season.
I’m a comedian, but it’s near impossible to make people laugh when my body is transforming against my will. When I’m furious about an illness 50% of the population will never experience while the other 50% will understand it 20+ years after me. Isolated because no doctor out of my team of 7 can determine exactly why it is I went into menopause at 28. Depressed because they know little about a condition that under 1% of the female population develops.
This is my life now.
A rookery, long abandoned now,
had been built inside my body.
I don’t know where the birds went
or why, one day, they uninhabited,
leaving only their barbed-wire
residues, strung across the boughs
of my hips; all sticks and spit,
all hollows meant for holding
something small, still desperately
alive. I’m sorry – I’m afraid
I know only my own dark canopy,
its filtering bones of light.