Excerpts from Neon Daze

By | 1 May 2019

22nd August 2016

Treat it as you would a sprained ankle
the Canadian physio advises – rest, ice,
compression, elevation. A little exercise
is beneficial – blood flow aids healing, but
never continue through the pain. Pain
ranges from one to ten. Until a week ago
I thought this scale ridiculous. Not knowing
what “ten” felt like, it made no sense.
I use the pram as a walking frame,
holding my weight in my arms rather
than my legs. The sutures in the middle
of me are different to but neither better
nor worse than expected.1 The ache grips
the buttocks and upper thigh, the walls
he was pushed against. In the shower
my hand doesn’t mean to brush what feels
like meaty cross-stitch. I don’t want to look,
using a mirror and confronting fear
as the physio suggests. You will soon
have your body back
, a colleague says,
then corrects herself: Some parts – others
will go
. Others will take months or years
to be yours again. Maybe they will never
belong, because the whole of you is changing.
Even the posture of your silhouette is strange.

  1. I was surprised, a friend said on New Year’s Eve, when you said you hadn’t expected having a baby to be hard. I paraphrase poorly, quote out of context, emphasise the aspects of the sentiment that stung. This friend didn’t mean any harm, I don’t think. I tried to explain that all imaginings were thin and theoretical in comparison with the actual. One could listen to new mothers say they were sleeping for forty-five minutes at a time and feeding every two hours. This information could be known and, to an extent, braced for. ‘Expect’ comes from the Latin, exspectare, meaning to look out for. To look is the shadow of to feel. Later I mention Dante’s bright heaven as an analogy for the blinding newness of this experience, but what I actually have in mind is the condition of Plato’s prisoner at last released from the cave and seeing the sources of the shadows on the wall – the donkey’s feathered fetlocks in all their greyish-yellow glory.

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2 Responses to Excerpts from Neon Daze

  1. Kate says:

    I’m so keen to own and love this book and give it to my friends. Wow.

  2. Yuxuan Zhao says:

    She was my English teacher 🙂