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Food. The word bloats and blinks, neon-glary, in my migraine mind. There are vines of weighty words twining the menu page today, a jungle of tick boxes. The choices maze and faze me -
Lunch: Chicken Supreme/Salmon Salad/Stewed Apple
Supper: Soup/Sandwiches/Fruit Compote
canned peach slices float
in a bowl of golden juice -
yellow crescent moons
There are days, days when I won't take my dressing gown off, because to do so means exposing my horrendous fat body, the disgusting mounds of flab. Today is one of those. Everyone is careful to avoid the word 'anorexia', instead they say 'eating disorder'. Until one doctor slips up: "You are aware you have anorexia?"
The word falls blackly into a black hole of silence.
I'm on a supplement plan for malnutrition - four Ensure:
Raspberry that tastes like jewel berries glinting in gardens,
Forest Fruit that tastes like woodland walks in autumn,
Banana that tastes like palm-fringed tropical skies,
Strawberry that tastes like Wimbledon in June.
The cheery Filipino nurse brings me a coffee, acrid as October smoke, and my midday Ensure drink. "The calories go down easier in liquid, yes?" she asks brightly.
"Yes," I agree, but I want to vomit them back up.
fingers down my throat
in the bathroom's polar glare -
the toilet hisses
The daily arguments, pleadings, rantings: "You're making me fucking fat!" "I feel fucking huge!" "I've got to get this weight off!" "You've got to let me go home!"
The daily drill: blood pressure, weight check (standing backwards on the scale so Ana can't shriek), blood test.
the needle pierces
a snowdrift of ice-thin skin -
ruby rosebuds bloom
After supper the usual twitchiness sets in: fingers flicking, feet tapping, knees bouncing. The calories burn beneath my skin; I can't keep still, can't rein the agitation in. I pace up and down the ward corridor, restless as a blown leaf. The day room is deserted, has become a night room with the clock's tick tock: 7 p.m.
white cups on saucers
abandoned silver spoons strewn -
bitter coffee dregs
Walking, walking. Walking the three meal bloat into the feather-float of night...
Back in my room, pillow-propped in my electronic bed, I stare out at scalpel-silver skies; sterile, glassy light as day rolls away like a glass bead.
my water jug glints
in pale strobes of spring moonlight -
the white ward clock ticks
Adapted from a notebook I kept while in hospital
7/18/2015 Haibun Contest