rot on your vine

Vague Cripplehood

You cannot eat anything.
Each spoonful fades before you swallow,
the fruit on the vine is rotted at your harvest.
You are always nauseous, you forget how to vomit.
The air smells of butter and salt and popped kernels
and you gag between breathing.

The light is on when you are in pain;
the light is almost always on.
Do not speak, do not look,
do not show anyone.
It flickers off when you want others to know
You are hurting and never in the dark.

When you find your cane,
you will walk for decades.
There’s a mirage twenty miles away, always twenty miles;
the wheelchair turns solid if you can get there.
When you find your wheelchair, there will be no ramps,
they will vanish or sprout and grow into a single staircase
and you’ll be abandoned in the street with the other ferals.

You cannot remember names.
You stay silent after stuttered and vague syllables fall flat.
You cannot remember how it felt,
your heart, your legs, your senses,
before they started the quake;
the seismic change of body.
You are tectonic and you’ll forget the fault lines
had not been there before.

Trae Leigh