Sunday, June 21, 2009


Back online; there's free wireless where I am now. :) I'll do the blog rounds shortly; try to catch up by tomorrow. I hope you all are well. Here's an idea I was playing around with a couple of days ago. Small pox? Chicken pox? Bubonic plague? Whatever it is, it certainly isn't swine flu.


It starts with an itch.
The tailbone, crawling upwards
nerve by nerve
through the spine, fluid river
into unforgivable

Smash it. Watch it grow
shattered, each fragment forming
a new whole, miniature
of the parent
skin buckling, slow, raw
with an unfamiliar landscape.

Contagion creeps low,
over and away with the patience
of busy one-celled lives;
sliding, dividing, retracting;
and is gone.

Rachel Westfall
June 19, 2009


Piratedred said...

Glad to have you back Rachel. You always seem to make me feel a little better. :^)


namingconstellations said...

For some reason, the spine bit really unsettled me... makes me think of meningitis or something. Very cool personification of illness. :)

Poetikat said...

This is pretty scary. Whatever it represents, it digs at a fear that I try to keep buried. (It's an excellent poem, by the way.)


christopher said...

Exactly what I thought, meningitis. 1964.


I woke to brightness
and felt like a million bucks
that morning, almost
done with the basic
and ready to graduate
but then started to
crash down fast, so weak
of a sudden, weird, alone
stumble to sick call,
to hospital, there
to lay across chairs so ill
alone waiting for
something to happen
and then after hours they took
me fast to the ward,
to the ice blanket
and the fucking gastric tube
and the pain of it
all and the month long
slowly now get my life back,
knew my brain had burned.

RachelW said...

Christopher, ouch.. Yes, that does sound like it.

Kat, I think maybe it's a primal fear? I've always had a fascination with things I fear or am repulsed by.

Constellations, yep, there's that meningitis thing again... scary, that is.

T, I'm glad to hear it. Even when I'm going on about infectious disease! :)

nollyposh said...

Sounds like the nasty bug i have festering inside of my olde bod at the moment! Lol!

Michelle Johnson said...

Great poem. Happy to say I'm not experiencing these symptoms. Hope all is well. Have a great night.

Woman in a Window said...

Gone but to where? Insidious creeper!

RachelW said...

Nolly, oh dear! I hope you feel better soon!

Michelle, glad to hear it. :) I'm not either, though I've been soaked to the skin twice in the past two days (once in an unprovoked squirt-gun attack, then again in an utter down-pour) so hopefully I won't get sick from that.

Erin, to the next unwitting victim....

Rob-bear said...

Doesn't sound like swine flu, or any of the other diseases you mentioned.

Perhaps the onset of terminal humanity?

Rikkij said...

are we talking physical stuff here? Some kinda contagious going on in Iran right now and it's kinda cool. Just sayin. Glad you found a connection. Interesting thought. ~rick

RachelW said...

Rob-bear, I think you are right, though shingles can feel a bit like this; that's where I got the chicken pox idea from. I really have no idea where some of this stuff (writing) comes from.

Rick, hmm... good point.

ConverseMomma said...

I'm a total germ-a-phobe. Even reading this made me want to back away from the computer and wash my hands. :)

Nice to have you back.

Aniket said...

Creepy nasty... arghh! Smash it... smash it now! :)

Julie said...

Awesome poem, Rachel! I can relate to this in a mental way. Mental! Ha! Ha! I'm neurotic as hell. It makes me think of riding on the subways in NYC. All I could think of were the germs all around me. My crazy thoughts always start "with an itch." I love this poem. The last stanza is a great ending, too.