poetry

My Illnesses Apologised To Me

Step out of hot bath
seared skin
outline of phantom bikini
bird nest twist on top of head
soft breasts, right slightly bigger than left

Wipe steam off mirror
cool green wrist
tattoo evidence of his existence
white lines whiter still
middle finger ring won’t come off so don’t try

Face less puffy
wish it were gaunt
constellation of freckles
spots and dots
lips vanishing
nose twitching
sniff deep
taste the dripdripdripping
of chemical rocks
that make your teeth bite each other
see what you see

Eyes with nothing in them
no water, emotional or otherwise
no stories no soul
just a nondescript colour
surrounded by non-colour
with a black hole in the middle of it
which is printed on your face twice
a brief moment where you realise
dead men’s eyes contain more life
and you cannot blink
just blank
-ly stare

Ghost lips move on their own
somewhere else not on your face
maybe in your brain
saying words they’ve never said before
“I’m sorry, [your real name]. I’m so sorry”
still eyes watch mouth return from far away
Illnesses speak again
in voice that is and isn’t yours
“You were supposed to be brilliant. Sorry.”

Try to reply
try to say “I know” or “it’s okay” or “it’s not fucking okay” or “I’ll never forgive you”
but no no no no no no nothing comes out nothing
you can’t blink or wink or think
the pink folds on your face don’t move
there’s nothing you can say or do
just a downward nod
stare at floor
notice fresh wound on foot
watch blood pool
swallo
O
o
O
o
ow the remains of the cocaine at the back of your throat
find your black book, make a note
of the first and only apology
and never look in the mirror again.

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