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

Tag: hardship (Page 2 of 3)

‘The Cost of Falling Ill’, by Linda Cosgriff

Work as hard as you can
for as long as you can

Then you’re ill
can’t work
can’t walk
can’t bear talk
or remember how no pain felt
can count on the hand you can’t lift
your friends
and family

can’t work
or provide
can’t afford pride
or holidays
you manage Christmas, on plastic
can’t walk your children to school
it’s uphill

you’re ill
can’t work
can’t live
can’t provide –
the part that was you
the man that was you
the pride in you

Try not to care 
that the love of your life 
is no longer your wife 
but your carer

Work as hard as you can
for as long as you can

  • by Linda Cosgriff

Author website

United Kingdom

‘A Double Etheree on Living with M.E.’, by Linda Cosgriff

man is
ill. Whispered
of what he once was
are all that sustain him. 
He has no hope. His aching
visions of what should have been kill
comfort. What could have been is a lie. 
He has no hope. He has no future. He
has only now. Life took revenge for a
life too well lived. He was a man out
of time. Now, there is nothing but
time. Resilient, he bears
it. He will not die. He
will suffer, always. 
He will not die. 
He does not,


  • by Linda Cosgriff

Author website

United Kingdom

‘In Stillness’, by D. Phoenix

The way the scent of the air changes as the day goes on: the warming sweetness of morning; the sharp resin of fir trees as the sun heats the day; the cool, soft evening air with the ground and lake and all the waving leaves mixed in. The way the early evening light strikes the birches and makes them chiaroscuro dramatic. The way my feet burn. The smudged charcoal underbellies of terns over the green water. Their sliding paths through the air. This deep, stabbing pain in both temples. The buzzing flight of sugar-fuelled hummingbirds. The way my entire body is filled with pain and unable to move from this chair. Heavily, here, just so. That bird, there, hopping from branch to branch. Almost hidden. The feel of my skin as a gentle breeze touches the side of my face. The things I long to do. That dragonfly, there, and the sun behind its wings. Every dancing leaf. The air again: changing.

  • by D. Phoenix


‘The Pits of Pain’, by Katarina Juvancic

For some of us the universe is a dark pit, where pain finds its home, nesting and laying eggs of destruction. The whole life reduced to this crumbled, shrank, shelled body of pain. It takes over your whole existence. Nothing can keep the pain at bay at this point, not even your best “mind-over-matter” efforts or hardest of drugs. It is torturing your soul and crippling your body. Overwhelming and ubiquitous. An epitome of Alone. A hungry demon. 

It claims you when you are too exhausted to fight. Now it has me in its claws, roaring like a wild beast, feasting on my bones, chewing my sanity and spitting out my dignity. I am too weak to resist. My presence is ethereal and fragile. I am not really here any more. I do not live anymore. I merely exist. And that is more humiliating and dehumanising than being dead.



‘Twenty Minutes’ (Anon.)

Twenty minutes; one thousand two hundred seconds, nothing really, unless you’re waiting, waiting to be told about something you may not want to hear. I feel different; my body is telling me there is a problem. Seventeen have passed. I’m sitting in a room where time has stood still. I’m surrounded by a sea of unknown faces, all waiting with me. Some are biting their lips; others stare into space like I am. There are only two outcomes, positive, or negative. Polar opposites. “Steven? Come on through.” I follow with my heart in my mouth. “Take a seat.” I do as I’m told. She is smiling at me. But it’s not giving me any comfort. She begins talking, but her words disappear into white noise. My heart has left my mouth and disappeared into the pit of my stomach. I have the answer. Now all I have are questions.



  • anonymous author


‘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.]



‘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,



« Older posts Newer posts »