in which I try to fire my body but before I can, my body puts in its two weeks

L.R. Bird
Content Warnings
"The disease resists diagnosis and instead begs..."
Dec 28, 2020 9:50 PM

The disease resists diagnosis and instead begs

a description. A list of areas I don't feel pain:

Most fingers. My mouth, sometimes. The back

of my left ankle. Usually my forearms. Okay,

now a list of things that alleviate pain:

Being underwater. Biking away. Drinking.

Driving exactly 45 minutes, but only south.

Drinking. Drinking. Drinking. Okay,

how about your doctors? Not to be

dramatic, but Fuck You. Sometimes I take

lovers based on how they touch my back.

Sometimes I keep lovers based on how

they react when I beg them to be dangerous

to me. Listen, I never get to be in pain for fun.

It's always this supermarket-spasm, this

work-limp, the subtle contortion I hide

under another seat taken. Okay, I have

a theory: Once, I had a lover who only

looked at me. So my spine twisted t'ward

their hands. So my hips dilapidated in such

a way that they must have noticed how I

slowed under different weather. I mean,

I drank until I moved soft enough to glide

into them. I mean I biked so fast

their only option was to follow. I mean,

it is not my fault. Sometimes I decide

to spend the night based on the shape

of someone's bed. What is it called

if a body twists against me in the dark

and I am jealous of its ability to do that?

What if I drive 45 minutes three times over

just to be held? What if, alone

in the elevator or break-room

or single-stall-restroom, I hold

my breath until I am underwater?

Maybe that is the diagnosis working

backwards. Maybe if I stop spending

the night I will stop waking up with

so much new hurt. Listen, I threw up

the medication. The bath-water got

cold. The stairs leered when the

elevator broke. My lover's hands were

so gentle and I still bruised. Okay, a list

of things I've told to Fuck Off recently:

Every doctor ever. A memory in which

a now-ex lover tells me to stand up.

My skin and its stubborn welt. My bed,

for how I sink into it. The space between

my shoulders where once I asked

someone to punch me and they did

and it didn't help. How my desperation

rears and snakes. How a multitude

of hands reach to cradle all this

nightmare-ugly and just

the air moving between us

makes me flinch.

L.R. BIRD (they/them pronouns) is an Aries from the Jersey Shore, so they're not sure what you mean by 'speed limit.' They have work published or forthcoming in Blueshift Journal, Maps for Teeth, FreezeRay, Public Pool, and others. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry nominee, Linette is on the executive board of the Philadelphia Fuze Poetry Slam and is sort of trying to complete a bachelor's degree, but is mostly just trying to survive in small-town America.