Writing From Below | Leaving my body - Alison Bennett
Writing From Below

Leaving my body

Alison Bennett

The day I left my body I was four years old.

I wore red dungarees.

I remember how the ambos

had to cut those dungarees

from my burning body

with scissors …

… because they were my favourite

dungarees.

I remember the screaming

I’m not sure if was my

voice but my mouth

was moving.

I became used to the sad smiles of the cleaners

in my disinfected hospital cell …

and I always

smile back as the smell of

Dettol

and bleach

and rubber gloves

burns my nostrils.

and I learn to stop

eating

because leaving my body

meant leaving behind

all those hands

clamouring at me

all the pain

all the grotesque scars

all the pretending

to be fine

and I master the technique of

guarding my secrets

behind an iron-clad shield

made from silence

and pretend smiles

and it feels wrong to still

seek sick comfort in

the familiar scent of

antiseptic swabs …

… the bleeps of

dialysis machines

lulling me to

sleep like some kind of …

… dysfunctional

fairy godmother

but see, here

without my body

I am uncontaminated

I am clean

I am numb

here I can keep you at a twelve metre

distance from my secrets at all times

while I drown in a sea of my

own torment

and fill my day with obsessive rituals

and I am watching myself in a

foreign film … but no

matter how

hard I try

… I can’t switch the subtitles on

I’m high as a kite, soaring above you in

my haze of

malnutritioned delirium

I am on a never-ending ferris wheel of death

and the conductor

won’t

let

me

off …

but here I am numb

here I am …

… superhuman

the day I left my body I was four years old

but I will

never

stop

searching for it



 

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