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WHEN THE JOINTS CREAK ALL THE TIME - Rosemary Esehagu

You don’t know me, not really.

The image you see that follows me

around is distorted.

This dark image that moves in

ways I cannot—

my shadow except

she follows me even into the night.

Like day and night,

gloom and bliss,

Yin and Yang,

we are separate but bound

except without the harmony.

We’re like conjoined twins

struggling against this body we share.

This body that I want to be more

hers than mine.

I let her claim it fully, but she insists

On being generous.


I call her Fab, my own internal joke,

my sarcastic truth,

but you call her me—

to you, we are identical—

you only see the puppet.

Fab has a lot of vices born

out of jealousy.

She wants me for herself.

Like when it rains.

the wondrous rain,

heaven’s disappointment

about my absence outside,

causes a flash of jealousy and she inflames

my joints

with burning pain, that immobilizes me

into my bed.

Then she’s happy.

Like when friends come over

and she makes me forget their names,

or forget our chat yesterday that caused

me raucous laughter.

She makes me doze off in

the middle of conversations,

so, they don’t come back for more

of my rudeness—insensitivity.

She slaps my face, so it burns and aches

and my sleep runs away for days—

even the doctor cannot heal it,

because his touch inflicts the pain

he seeks to know.

My gut runs the race I cannot,

and she has sacrificed many

trees for my comfort.

But for my finances, I would

stop this sacrifice,

bring technology to help,

a bidet—but not for riding.

You don’t know me, not really.

I didn’t either.

The image you see that follows

me around is a part of me.

Fab is the bug of my nettle.

At first glance, I am being pierced—devoured—

a pain even lightening shudders from.

I lose my senses, my thirst for life,

But wisdom comes to

those who persevere,

and I do.

Fab is my evolution to the future.

My pollinator that brings maturity

to my stigma.

How do you know pleasure

if you are a stranger to pain?

How do you know joy

if you’ve not been to the depths of hell?

How do you know contentment

if you don’t study hardship

or its cousin, loss?

To feel pain is to know

you are alive—you

still have a purpose.

I live.

I live.

Every day, I live.

 

Rosemary Esehagu is a native Nigerian who currently lives in Texas. She is the author of the novel, The Looming Fog. Her poems have been published in Plum Recruit, A Little Poetry, African Writer Magazine, and Elephant Journal. She loves to explore the mind and how external forces play a role in its development and health.

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