by Izzy Rogers
Change your mind.
Change your mind
But he won’t.
Since 8pm on 2nd May I have felt like
I am dying inside my body.
I have never wished illness on anyone,
but I pray that he’s had a breakdown
that he will soon get over.
So I can have him back,
and his once-robust affection,
and his conviction that we can do this.
We can be something.
We got this down.
Freezing shivers of shock
torment the hairs on my arms
and behind my neck.
I don’t believe him and
his ‘I don’t love you’s.
I don’t believe him at all.
‘You have lost your mind.’
‘Yes, it’s medically recorded. Please leave.’
Three weeks later I am still eating
reheated risotto made from a packet
and crying into my mother’s lap.
I am 29 years old.
It comes back to me upon waking,
like a recurring dream
that won’t let me run.
An undeniable truth called
‘this is happening’.
‘Distraught’ reaches new levels.
I am ill with a rapid grief
that flows through me like a slipstream,
taking every casual joy
far beyond my reach.
I see them – those gifts truly exist –
but they float downriver now,
obeying the rules of this new landscape
I never fucking asked for.
Fabric gapes around my hipbones
where flesh recently lived.
I wonder when it will return to me.
My breast tissue is absent without leave.
The ribcage beneath stands proud,
the only part of me to have retained its dignity.
My brain deserts me too.
Words take on indecipherable complexity.
I have no idea what’s expected of me –
I don’t understand what it means.
I scroll endless social media
with my iPhone claw,
in a vain hope for distraction.
The skin on my fingers is cracked and unable to bind,
losing its own tiny struggle for repair.
I am the latest person I know,
yet this 5am head pain starts bang-on or a minute early.
What can I do at this hour: sick, alone, inconsolable.
Lead bones replace awake, lithe muscle.
Where do my arms go now
I can no longer hold him.
I want to be made anew.
To forget these memories unravelling piece by piece.
I could search 24 hours a day
and still feel empty.
My faith in us is pointless, groundless;
And now I don’t know what to believe in.
Izzy Rogers is a north London-based writer of plays, poetry and creative non-fiction. She has developed her work with the National Theatre, For Books’ Sake, and Owned Voices. She was longlisted for the London Writers Awards 2018. She reviews contemporary dance and ballet for danceartjournal.com.