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Cherry-swirled

For D.

By Rachelle

There are cherries chasing me down!

They wouldn't stop sticking around!

I don't want them there, but life isn't fair,

these cherries turn mine upside down! 

 

I can't help but think of escaping,

into the mountains where I'm dreaming

of backpacking to, and learn I shall do

to escape from these cherries' chasing! 

 

But they find their way into my food,

it's as if they can't help but intrude!

This is so bizarre, my colons, they scar,

from sugars in an endless feud! 

 

They appear on my chocolate cakes,

dripping ganache now cherry-swirled.

I can't have desserts, my stomach will hurt—

can’t seem to do much in this world. 

 

But I've learnt to make life worth living 

taking French classes and felting.

Sure, I'm toilet-bound, but I won't feel down,

I just have to do lots of planning. 

 

If you don't ask, I'll never tell.

Please do not ask when I’ll get well.

Ghosts of these cherries, will come as they please!

I’ll just have to live with this spell.

 

Still some days I dream of travel,

Though my insides still unravel.

Darkness is a friend, still, by this I stand:

Life is what we make for ourselves!

Author's Note:

“How are you, really?” Light-hearted and humorous though not without moments of vulnerability, the conversation with D had inspired the amusing image of being relentlessly chased down by a cherry! The limerick form was used to convey the sense of humour that she bears surrounding her discussion of ulcerative colitis, which is a fairly rare condition in Singapore. The cherries’ chasing were used as a metaphor for what first felt like it was an incredibly bizarre experience and diagnosis. Having to navigate not only the condition but also its implications on social life, she has adapted to a new lifestyle that requires more deliberation, and developed a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. After journeying through the initial feelings of indignation, the piece ends on a point of acceptance and hope, reflecting her zest for life. This piece hopes to leave you with the understanding that the awareness surrounding living with an autoimmune disease remains low, and that communication has to come from a place of genuine care and love.