Ode to Diabetes
When I got better I ate / attention, the praise for being alive. There is no praise now. A needle, / a sharp’s box, yellow asking me to slow down.
Ode to Diabetes
not illness. Pray to be rouge cheeked, prayer for sweat. Let my pancreas die. The all + flesh, pinprick of a glucometer on my finger, trigger rosary bead, smudged insulin in my stomach fat, medicinal clouds. A sky darkened by endocrine storms, metabolic shock, the awe. The sweet smell of piss a perfume called abundance worn in church when I was eleven years old in white dresses. Pneumonia when I was twelve, my father in the oxygen tank, breathing him, incense & rawhide. When I got better I ate attention, the praise for being alive. There is no praise now. A needle, a sharp’s box, yellow asking me to slow down. I eat an apple & it spikes my glucose. Dawn phenomena, the sun phenomena, a phenomena of language and its failures in the light of day. gibiskwad, mixed gland in the anishinaabemowin medical dictionary. There is an error in the way I speak. The way I eat. My mouth is inhuman. It curls when I’m punished. Prayer for when I’m better, when I better take care of myself. Prayer for hiding insulin from my father. Prayer for the ritual at bedtime, the grip on the needle, the punc- ture, the pump. There is no pill to dry swallow now. Medicine is subcutaneous. It is molten & it changes form. Insulin collects in pools like holy water I’d sneak sips of in church. All those babies baptised in water I put my lips on. Let God
Brandi Bird is an Indigiqueer Saulteaux, Cree and Métis writer from Treaty 1 territory. They currently live and learn on the land of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh & Musqueam peoples. They enjoy listening to the same song over and over again as they write poems and their work has been published in The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Puritan, Poetry is Dead, Room Magazine, Brick Magazine, Prism International, Arc Magazine and The Fiddlehead. They are a 4th year BFA student at the University of British Columbia and live with their three cats, Babydoll, Burt and Etta.
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