Meryl Natchez

The Country of Illness

Your body no longer belongs to you
but to technicians whose work is the body.
Your time is engaged in translating 
the complex currency, adapting to customs
that seem pure insult where you come from.  
Travel here is light and clatter when you want 
dim sleep. Visitors with their annoying questions,
as if you knew anything useful.
It takes all your time to decipher
the map, the border instructions, 
while you slowly work to put together 
the price of the ticket back
to the land where we take our bodies
blessedly for granted.  

You swear if your frail craft 
ever arrives at that shore,
you’ll relish every moment without pain,
appreciate the feet that carry you,
the arms that lift and hold and lift again
at your command. But it’s not possible.

The healthy breathe health as fish
breathe water. We move at will, cursing
the burnt clutch, the spilled coffee,
while the dark blood pulses, 
and health shimmers, 
thoughtless as moonlight 
on black water.