Four Little Pills

Even if the meds work,
the hives pop up
like garden vegetables,
the roots stretching and starving
for water,

but at least you know
now there is life
under all that scratching.

The red rash reminds you
you’re made up of animal shapes
and foods you can’t name,
the artwork of disease.

As you breathe, the shapes
change and you feel the rise
and fall of a possible flare,
an almost always feeling
of being on the edge.

And if you make it through the day
without feeling the changing season
grow inside you,
then something is working
in those four little pills.

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It started in high school

Friends told me to stop wearing shirts
that are too high up. Don’t hide
your skin, show off the change
in you and wear everything lace.

My closet was full of what I wasn’t
supposed to wear, so I stayed
the same and hoped I’d transform
by moonlight or something.

I woke up one morning with welts,
giant pulsing welts all over
my neck like I was stung
by a family of wasps.
But I’m not allergic to anything,
and wouldn’t I know myself
by now?

Can’t wear high collar shirts.
Nothing can touch
my neck
without the burning rash.

Out in the open, I am someone else
and my friends tell me to show off
those red welts
because they are my red welts.