In honor of Invisible Illness Week. Not an adaptation of an existing fairy tale, but an effort to view aspects of my life through the lens of fairy tales. Wrote this a while ago.
I walked for seven years,
wearing out seven pairs of iron shoes,
all for you.
I surrendered my voice, my body,
cleaving in two -
every step like knives shooting through these legs.
All for you.
I wish, I wish -
I wish there was a reason.
I wish this was all for something -
to rescue a sister, a lover.
To set something right.
I want this to mean something.
I want it to have been for something.
The cruelty of this is in variation.
There are days I feel almost well,
weeks where I think that perhaps the curse has petered out,
cycled away like a lunar eclipse,
the disc of pain moving out of my orbit.
It would be easier to bear were it constant.
It would be easier to bear if I always needed a cane.
I could be prepared.
But this -
this is where despair lives.
In the feeling that one has backslid.
Has failed to be well.
That one was almost there, almost -
but, like Orpheus, you turned your head,
and health fell away.
You cannot know it.
I cannot make you know it.
Not just the pain -
pain like every muscle contracted and pulled
deep muscle ache
flash of pain like knives
radiant aura of pain around hips
tangling its fist in my back.
People are not equipped to understand this pain
without living it.
And I do not wish it on you.
Not just pain.
and the slow unpredictable malfunctions
of heart and gut and every part,
everything you thought you could depend on,
lights shutting out one by one,
or flickering feebly.
I wish it were a fairy tale.
Were it a fairy tale, there would be a magic word,
a secret task -
some way to break the spell.
It tears you apart,
its hooks rending you.
It pulls the joy from you,
dragging it out,
catching it on hope and fear,
a tangled mess.
Me, I streak my hair all the colors of fire.
I paint my eyes with glitter and hang seashells from my ears.
I wear skirts that make my walk
(when I can walk)
shoes with flower-wreathed skulls.
I form a net to keep the joy in.
I catch it on my wild curls and woven silver and the swirl of my skirt.
And my eyes, my shoes, my dance - it makes you smile.
It gives you some small measure of happiness.
I catch it, the reflection of your joy, like the light of the Moon.
Perhaps I can make a spell of my own
And sing my restoration.
We are at $125 and need $300. Bring my sisterlove (and fellow Chronic Pain Lass) home for Thanksgiving! Remember, one luck sponsor will win a kythryne