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


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


and bleach

and rubber gloves

burns my nostrils.

and I learn to stop


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




off …

but here I am numb

here I am …

… superhuman

the day I left my body I was four years old

but I will



searching for it


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ISSN: 2202-2546

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