The Fatigue is just fatigue. It
sprays my body like
a numbing agent. Say the
way I sleep might not be
working, say the way I eat
might not be working.
Hope to god the meds
start working. The other day
she said you need firmer
this looks like an earlier
bedtime. Fuel your body
with hope that something
might change. Like a bowl of rice
steaming, put it in your mouth
and huff, too quick, too impatient
but if nothing changes, keep
moving. A challenge is only a challenge
once you stop trying. No, I mean
a challenge is always a challenge
when your body doesn't work right
what is right? They only say
the right side of history when
a few decades have passed. Someday
we will look back and see
much of the same. Say thank you
for your friends and the family that stay
in touch. Was it challenging? Everything is
changing. The fatigue is just fatigue
until it’s not.
- What do the short lines in the poem build throughout the poem?
- At the beginning of the poem, the speaker says fatigue is just fatigue but at the end, they say fatigue is fatigue until it is not. What do they mean?
- The Fatigue can be read as a guide for how to read your body and its symptoms. Identify the ways the speaker has done this.
- This poem is an example of honouring our bodily differences. How does the speaker come to this realization?
- How can you recite this poem to reflect the fatigue the speaker is working through? Would reading slowly help? Find ways to pause, maybe in unnatural places where someone may not typically pause.
- Write a poem with short lines that reads your body. First ask yourself a few questions to get in touch with how your body is feeling: Are you hungry? Do you feel pain somewhere in particular? Are your shoes too tight? When you tune into your body in this way, you are reading it.
Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch "The Fatigue" from knot body. Copyright © 2020 by Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: knot body (Metatron Press, 2020)