Thursday, 6 February 2020

FOOTSTEPS OF A MUNTJAC

From June to June I don't know who I am,
though I walk the old familiar paths, 
tracing and retracing into muscle and sinew

Who are you?
Who are you?
Who are you?

I am a Pokemon hunter
with chronic illness and no car, no invisibility 
cloak to protect me. 

I am a daughter, but not a mother.
I am a Queen of this, 
but not that.

I am a traveller who stays still for so long
she forgets she once walked 
among Inukshuk, and between redwoods. 

I am a reader who ceased to read.

Instead, I watch a bright screen move me
while my eyes and brain exchange 
the same, tired greeting

Here again?
Here again.
Here. Again.

A muntjac looked across the field 
at me, not trusting the scent of me.

We share this earth so cautiously. 

(c) Shaista Tayabali, 2020
prompt from Dverse Poets, ('What day is it anyway?'); image from Wildlife Watch: Forest of Dean
inspiration: my friend Helena, who walked in the garden with me, sunshine on our faces, muntjac footprints beneath our feet, and the wild world of hope blinking in the possibilities (Helena reminds me... I keep forgetting, am too tired, too sick, gripped by infections and fibromyalgia.) 


Friday, 17 January 2020

GROUNDHOG DAY (MONTH, YEAR)

It’s 2020! Which matches neatly for anyone who likes their numbers mirrored or believes in numerical significance. I think I belong to that crowd ... like when I glance at my watch and see the time is 17:17 or 23:23. It happens so often I take it in my stride as one of those natural oddities. So far so good, or so meaningful.

But does anyone really experience a seismic change for the prosperous? And it usually is prosperity (or a pleasant change in the fate of one’s circumstance) that we are hoping the clock will provide on the twelfth beat of the midnight hour. Luck be a lady tonight. Lady, be lucky tonight. Be mine, lucky lady. Be mine, luck. And somehow sandwiched between one year end and one year start, we hold faith on an inbreath and release, eventually, into the real, once again.


What was real for you? For me, it was the influenza virus. How do you know you have the flu, asked the infectious diseases registrar in the emergency department. How did you know you had the flu, asked the immunology consultant on the ward, the next day. I can taste it, I said. It has a certain flavour, an aroma, a texture known to the memory of my cells. (They were listening to me, thinking, ‘Mm-hmm. Sure, kid, gal, woman. Whatever you say.’) Of course, I knew I had the flu because my nephew brought it on a plane from Singapore. I’m going to call you the NOD, I told him. The Nephew of Doom. Dang it Shai, thanks a lot, said the nephew of doom, taking it on his small chin. He made up for it by reading me several pages of Eva Ibbotson’s ‘Journey to the River Sea’. He read most of the book by himself, which pleased his aunt enormously. He knows about Eva. That she had The Lupus. He's not happy she died of it. But he understands she matters to me. I haven't introduced him to Flannery O'Connor yet... I'm not completely merciless.


One month has caterpillared across the seemingly endless bouts of coughing, fever, vomiting (oh, you know about the 'flu? I shall desist from further details)... my immunology consultant wants to see me again on Monday. Yesterday I had a heart monitor fitted to check on its speedy action (we in the biz call it tachycardia) and a few days ago, I had a ghastly paralysing attack of fibromyalgia. 

Dang it, 2020! To quote my precious nephew of delight. See, Raf? That works too. NOD. Nephew of Delight. Also, Nieces of Delight. All four of my delights are just that. 'Don't eat me!' they say. 'Cook me!' they say. 'Are you listening to me?' they demand. 'Copy me!' they command. Alright, 2020, if that's all you have in store for me, along with this writing m'larky, I'll take it.