but does your heart know anything else

i. The Headache:
your mother won’t let you take a day off for this one.
sometimes it feels as if it’s not even there.
sometimes it’s their nails digging into the back of your skull.
sometimes it’s nausea and spinning. it won’t stay still and moves to your eyes, to your face, and your temples. it will keep you up some nights, the nagging weight of it all.
when it’s gone you don’t even notice.

ii. The Flu:
this one keeps you in bed for a week.
it feels as if your lungs forgot how to breathe.
you’ll feel them with their hands around your neck, suffocating you.
you’ll feel the throb of it in your palms and your face. you stop eating because they’re sitting at the bottom of your stomach and your throat aches with the taste of them.
this one turns you ice-cold and makes you forget what warmth felt like.

iii. The Open Wound:
you can’t stop picking at it.
the blood sticks to all your favourite shirts, turning them dark, and red, and warm.
it stings when they touch you, and it stings when they try to hold you, and it stings when they try to kiss you. it stings when you try to sleep.
your mother tells you to cover it up and go to the doctor.
you say this hurt makes it real.

iv. The Broken Knee:
this one will leave a bruise.
it will leave you on crutches for months.
it will ache when you move and if you try to run.
you carry it around with you like another limb, like they never even left.
the pain of it is fresh, like the moment of impact, like the first fall.

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write
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