Twisting and forking into the clouds
Drifting towards heaven
I could be a heptathlete at Tokyo 2020
Hurdling, high jumping, shot putting, long jumping, throwing the javelin, the final 800 metre run
All skills within my power
A gold medal around my neck up on the podium
Gazing up through the needled greenery
Aged eight I won first place in my school fun run
In my teenage years I was the lead in my school track and field club
Not to mention the goal defence at netball
Shadows flicker across my face
Puffy white clouds
I vomited in the doctor's office
A freak virus that left me weak and drained
Tortured for months by needles, assessments, scans
Until finally the doctors gave up in a daze
A branch sticks out above my head
Leading to a dead end
No foliage does this branch have, no cones or connecting branches
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis was my final diagnosis
A chronic illness for which there is no cure
Which frequently left me bedridden, plagued by headaches, pain, muscle spasms, nausea, dizziness
Forgotten and abandoned by the world
A short branch curves to the left
Two decades have gone by now
My health is on the rise
But the last two decades have been full of ups and downs
A haunting rollercoaster ride
The short branch ends in a burst of foliage
Promising needles of green
Yet can I ever trust my body again?
To know it's not just another quick reprieve?
Is there even any point to my life now?
Anything to recover for?
Two decades have gone by after all
I'll never be able to be the person I could have been before
A series of connecting boughs branch out before me
Bushy with foliage
Dancing in the slight breeze
Which fork will my life go down from here?
Shall my health remain stable?
Or will I crash back into the cacophony of symptoms?
May I ever reach the heady fairytale heights of eventual permanent recovery?
I so want to be able to truly live
To have a place in the busyness of the outside world
To feel the sense of independence and self satisfaction paid employment can give
I'd like to be an attractive woman
Not invisible to men
A partner I can share a laugh with
To go to gigs, travel, attend family gatherings, simply be alive again
A wren hops down a branch close to me
Pecking at the seeds from the golden cones
It's tiny figure pebbled with greyish-brown plumage
I've heard talk of research findings in London, Norway and the U. S
A ME biobank, demonstrations and a centre of excellence in Norwich Research Park
Maybe it's just wishful thinking
But, still, it's free to dream
Remaining gazing up into the canopy
The solid branches
Climbing ever higher
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