In Exile I Draw the Tower Card

Kyla Jamieson

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           Spruce, inadequate, and alien

            I stood at the side of the road

            It was the only life I had.

            – Jane Kenyon

 

When I injured my brain

it was barely spring.

Now it is mid-October

& getting up at eleven

is a big accomplishment.

Last month I counted

the five hundred extra

hours I’ve spent sleeping

in this new state

where sunlight augurs

pain. I lose simple thoughts

before I can finish them

& feel lonely without

my mind. I’m always asking

whoever I’m talking to

What was I saying?

When everyone went

back to school I stayed

home, stopped having

goals, stopped dreaming

of putting my body

in a body of water. I tried

to edit what I wrote

and was bad at it, the kind

of bad trying harder

can’t fix. I felt useless

& alive. I watched

the doctor type prognosis

unknown & let hope

ghost me. Remind me where

the soul lives? How to tell

body from mind?

Ups & downs I say

when asked if I’m recovering.

In crowds I get dizzy

& sweat from the noise

& movement of bodies

around me. I am a woman

who holds her head

slightly off-centre,

always comes alone,

is relearning most things.

Where to begin?

 

Kyla Jamieson, "IN EXILE I DRAW THE TOWER CARD" from Body count. Copyright © 2020 by Kyla Jamieson. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: Body count (Nightwood Editions, 2020)