Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

BooksMay 24, 2024

The Friday Poem: ‘The body’s score’ by Erin Donohue

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

A new poem by Wellington writer Erin Donohue.

The body’s score

Here is what happens if you starve yourself for years.

Your body will forget herself. She will have to learn
new how a heart beats and she will not get it right.

She will need MRIs and a quiet room and 20 pills a day and

sea sickness bands and injections and ultrasounds
and a cool slicker pad across her clavicle.

She will set up a new security system and everything will trigger the alarm.

She will get defensive but she will be sloppy in her execution.
Will turn the gun on herself. Will ruin her own blood if

she thinks it will save you.

She will take you to the cardiologist, the neurologist, the rheumatologist,
the gastroenterologist. She will not keep secrets anymore.

She will become a hoarder. Will hold onto everything until

her knuckles gleam white. She will lose her voice.
She will need immunosuppressants even during a pandemic.

But here is what happens if you keep going anyway.

One day, you will see it and it will be so plain:
she got hurt. She is different now.

You are learning each other all over again.

Taking baby steps. The animal of you
unbalanced and scared

and still lurching forward.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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