KIND OF ANIMAL ❋ Kyla Jamieson
This work comes from the collection Body Count, which was shortlisted for The Metatron Prize for Rising Authors.
sometimes it’s exhausting
to be awake and alive
at the same time. with my
concussion comes tunnel
vision. this is not a metaphor.
the periphery disappears
at first, every touch, all light, all sound
registers as pressure in my head
whenever i am awake i am also
in pain. even so, i want to be awake
when i go out it’s in a hat
and sunglasses with headphones
in playing nothing. i pass people
i know who don’t recognize me
and am too tired to change
their minds. i lie in the dark
and dictate my texts to siri. siri,
siri, make a note: i’m high on pain
Jess takes me grocery shopping
once a week, tells me
she doesn’t know how to love
someone without wanting to see
them all the time. i don’t want
to see anyone all the time. i tell Jesse
i think i love him but am not sure.
i aspire to both give and refrain
from giving compliments
in a sincere manner, so it means
something. at the pharmacy
an elderly woman in a motorized
wheelchair tells me to go ahead
because i look like i need it
it sounds melodramatic but all this
not moving is killing me. i dream
of swimming every night for a week.
each day i walk slowly around
my neighbourhood holding my own
hand. the dandelions appear
overnight. on my way to vote i run
into Michelle, who’s going to her
parents’ 40th anniversary dinner.
i never understand why people
get married but now it makes sense
that she did. Selina is grieving
her relationship and reading
self-help books. i’m thinking
about hope and positivity.
it’s not cool but it is pragmatic.
while Jess drives i look out
the window. a man is removing
dead hedges, revealing a pool.
through my blinds i watch a pink
balloon blow around the yard
next door and get pinned against
a railing. the next day it’s in
the parking lot. the day after that
it’s gone. spring arrives, summer.
my mother’s birthday, solstice.
i organize my rock collection
and photograph shadows. i ask
siri about the weather and to define
brilliant. my brother graduates
from college and i’m not there.
i order him a lululemon shirt online
because gifts matter to him.
i give up on movement and making
plans. i miss swimming with Alanna.
she moves to toronto because
she can’t find a place in vancouver
it takes two years for me to turn
a stranger into a friend
i wonder what kind of animal
that makes me. maybe i’m
some kind of tree.