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18 May, 2013


Little white pills.
(One and a half of them -
I cut them with a kitchen knife every other day.)

Little white pills
Treating to the numbers
(I never knew to notice but
Maybe when you're fifteen you don't pay the right sort of attention
Or maybe
The kid with the dissociation problem
Is not the best at body awareness.
Ya think?)
They checked my throat,
Little pen marks and a tape measure,
And told me
"Little white pills, one and a half of them."

I stopped taking them
It didn't seem to matter.

When I had doctors
I would tell them
"I took little white pills,
One and a half of them.
I want you to find the numbers."
They found the numbers,
And sent me on my way.

I argued with one,
"These are the wrong numbers.
Here are my printouts.
This is what the new standards are,"
And she told me
My numbers were fine.
The one time they weren't,
She checked again,
And they'd changed.

Sometime in my late twenties
I found a bentwood cane
In an antique shop.
"Necessary tools should be beautiful," I said.
It was about the right height,
Red and knobbly and wonderful.
I didn't usually need it
But it was nice to have.

I took little white pills
For a while
They made me feel stoned
When I changed my dose
But the world didn't hurt so much
In my mind
And that was nice.
I had to stop
When I was pregnant

My knees never recovered
From the pregnancy
And stairs were hard.

I got a new doctor
And I said to him
"I had little white pills
One and a half of them
And I want you to check my numbers."
And he did.

And he said, "I don't treat numbers,
But your numbers
(The lab would say they're fine
Like your other doctor did)
They aren't good.
I would give you little white pills
Just for this
But look --
This other number --
Those are antibodies
And they shouldn't be there."

And he gave me little white pills.
Half of one a day, to start,
And I went home with a scrip
And told everyone I knew
"I have an autoimmune disease!"
And some of them understood
Why I was so happy.

One day
There was a truckful of rocks to unload
And I took the kids outside
And I helped
Because I had little white pills.

The little white pills
Don't change my body
Into a body that isn't nonconsensually suicidal
But they start to take away its weapons
And I didn't notice
All the ways I felt better
Until the little white pills
Went away.

And then I noticed
That my knees hurt again.
That I was so tired
Too tired to think.
I noticed
All the things I knew before.
(Fatigue, depression,
My appetite is gone because
My metabolism is fucked
It didn't go long enough
For my fingernails to shatter
But I bet when they grow a little more
They will.)

I noticed I needed that
Bentwood cane
And I hadn't remembered
The last time
I needed it to make it through a day.

"I need new little white pills,"
I said
While trying not to want to die
In a body that was trying to kill me
Because somehow
Having it all come back
The chills
The acne down my jaw
The way the pain kept me awake
And my ankles felt like tennis balls
Of flaking, brittle skin
With the fatigue
And all
(At least my heart didn't go flipping out
Like it was doing before I got
Little white pills
This time
That scared the fuck out of me
And I couldn't say
"I think I'm going to die"
I have kids
I can't leave them like this
I couldn't even tell the doctor
Which was stupid
But it was all the same damn thing
My life a ruin for a lack
Of little white pills
I suppose
But I digress)
It broke me
And I could barely get out of bed
The day I was going to see the doctor
Who could give me
Little white pills.

(My grandmother took the pills
I don't know if they were little and white
I wonder sometimes
If that was why--
Or part of why--
But no matter.)

He gave me little white pills
I gave him blood
To check my numbers
He said "I'll call if they're really bad"
And I took my scrip
And yelled at the pharmacist
Until they gave me
Little white pills
Just one at a time
To replace
The ones that didn't work.

Today I had to have a beer
To make the pain stop.
I will take my little white pill
And hope
To be more than a little better than I was