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Artwork by Alexis Muoka, VOX Teen Staff

VOX Teen Poetry: The Weight of the Other World

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Twenty-two degrees; The doctor is certain when he says I think it’s scoliosis

Sometimes I sit,
I am a bird on a traffic line, completely unbothered by my surroundings
Or a mole so deep under the ground I don’t notice my surroundings in the first place
And while I sit, I think and dream and imagine
I think and dream and imagine for hours upon end about anything and everything
Each thought is planted like a poppy seed, one destined to grow too large for its home
There is a pain in my back

Thirty degrees; After several consultations he says, Consider a back brace, it’ll help. Help what?

In my reflection, there is a tilted hanger beneath my neck
I wonder who notices, I certainly don’t
How could I notice when a whole other world exists in my mind
A world where my poppy seeds are steadily growing into powerful stems
There is a curve in my spine

Forty degrees; I gave up on the brace. He says That’s perfectly normal. 

Some nights, I lay for hours
Missing sleep just to spend some more time in the other world
In the other world are stories so magnificent it would do them no justice to put them on paper
And while I waste time in my own mind the poppies are adorned with petals
They’re so pretty they distract me from their roots which are grounded in my spine

Not quite fifty degrees; If it continues to grow, you’ll need surgery. Absolutely not.

Gravity loves my spine, grabbing it from the left and slowly but surely bringing it down
Doesn’t he know? Doesn’t he know what that means in the other world?
In the other world, scalpels are machetes and anesthesia poisons soil like burning oil

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My spine is a tall oak, and it will not be cut down for a chance to stand a little taller
It is my thoughts that weigh down my body
But my thoughts are a whole room
My body is merely a door
There is an awkwardness in the way I walk
I’d rather sit anyway

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