by Sweigh Emily Spilkin

Driving down the canyon, sun slanted, squinting, listening to Joan Didion talk about her faith, it occurs to me: this is not death, this is moving on. I repeat it over and over, never having learned this before, attempting to lay down new neural pathways.

This is not death, this is moving on. It was inevitable, running into him, running into his son. I did not expect that it would be so intimate, that I’d grab the boy from behind, that his face would be covered in red sorbet, that he’d laugh and say I thought that you were her. Her, the other other mother, the other other mother I’d refused to become. And now, driving down the canyon, on my way to meet my new, almost lover, I am ok, slightly numb, solid, too hot in my long sleeved wool, and a bit stunned, by the way that life goes on.

And not only the lives we choose, but the ones we don’t choose, these also continue in some parallel universe, playing out as they would have and influencing us all the same. There I am the children’s other mother, there he and I share a bed, he gets up and gets ready for work, I make breakfast, there we fight about money, there I am still sick.

And here? I am still sick. I expected that along with the new almost lover would come a new body, a new cellular response to the atmosphere, but it hasn’t turned out that way, I still nearly throw up next to perfume, get dizzy from shampoo, brain fog from deodorant, still have trouble detoxifying almost everything, still get the weekly IV’s, still feel like I want to puke after eating, still can’t digest or take in nourishment, or trust. It’s getting boring really, this part of the construction, the part I wish I could leave on the otherside in the company of the happenings I did not choose. Only somehow, it has managed to cross over, this illness, with out my permission, with out my consent.

© Sweigh Emily Spilkin 2006

Sweigh Emily SpilkinSweigh Emily Spilkin, MFA is a poet, healer, and guide. Sweigh lives in a sleepy corner of Boulder, CO where she wanders through the foothills, teaches poetry, practices chi kung energy healing, and on a good day, writes. Sweigh loves and is terrified of the Mystery. Over the last three years, a journey with chronic illness has taught her lessons she never wanted to learn, and she is grateful. Sweigh received her MFA in poetry from Naropa University in 2000.

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