Twisting and forking

Sun-soaked boughs

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

Changing formation

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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