Untethered and weightless except for the pain. The Great Dissolution commences. Solid frames on walls flicker like a hologram. A haunting silent voice sings a lament for the slow death. Pieces of me I can’t see answer. Soon, they say. Soon will be time to let go. No one hears it but me, the symphony of destruction underneath my skin. A sea of blades raging in my soft places. Electric shock treatment for my wild nerves. Maybe pain will teach her to behave, say the men with their crowns of ideas of who I am supposed to be. If you cannot stand, then you are below me, say the women with territorial flags in their hands as they stab the ground, casting shadows over my head, my eyes. Thank you for softening the light. It was painfully bright and I could see you all too well from down here. And what was your name again? I cannot remember. I am forgetting the periphery. All I recall is core: the loves that found their way to that place through the tumult of thorny vines and brambles of my life. Their arms and legs all scratched and bleeding as they hold me. Did I choose this? In the beginning, when my soul had no form, did I say I wanted to come to this place and learn through pain what it means to be human? Did I change my mind half way here, so some of me never made it? Or is the ailment a gift to make sure I stay humble enough to receive the lesson? Did I get it yet? That we are vulnerable creatures with the power of creation, for we can paint vast illusions and live them out. Pretending we are safe. Imagining we are in control. Puffing ourselves up to believe we're bigger than we are. Building towers in the sea to prove our strength against the waves. But all things pass away and who falls first from the thread we're all hanging by is anyone's guess. And I guess I should be thankful if it's my turn, because falling is flying before you hit the ground. And if my body shatters on impact, my spirit can smile to be released through the cracks in my flesh and bone to find the winds and aethers once more. And if it takes a while because time has slowed down from the broken heart of space who just couldn't keep up with progress, may I lean into all the colors and shapes and tiny intricate places we find when we learn in our suffering all the ways we are alive. Copyright © Sheyorah Naify 2021
Author's Note: This is piece was written as a way to process chronic degenerative disease and the new experience of travel in a wheelchair.