S Reeson

Perfect 10

My body’s screaming, feet bleeding… it’s done. 10km; under eighty minutes run. Eight  minute average, impossible six months ago… was fun. Numbers make my brain hurt too,  but inescapable as truth, they mark 

every time they’re set, achievable transforms, subtle; redefined. 

You smashed this. They smashed this. 

We altered. 

Progress, again begun. 

There now follows a short disclaimer: 

neurodiversity is my variation, altercation in the human brain: not very sociable, often  excessive, so… learning is steep, frightening, simultaneously world-expanding, attention  candle flickers between everything and nowt, mood was a roundabout until the  menoplace took pause as other mental functions vied for space within this time that  honestly is dangerous, very much within a pathological degree. 

Once, I believed your body could be mine, before it nearly killed me. 

this becomes a story 

of how following a fad 

is not the /flex 

you people think it is… 

The first time it happened was in France, on holiday. Such pain, odd reminder of early  labour; except, so close to heart… deep breaths, eyes closed and then, almost a pop, and it  was gone. My life moved on, that holiday progressed. 

Within me, something broke. 

Only then, in hindsight, was damage exposed. 

They look at pictures, after years 

don’t see me, but diversity 

defining other people’s shape 

size, colour then adversity; 

stop painting everything as white 

your perfect ten’s a travesty 

when legs too short 

body too long 

why did it take a lifetime 


expose a brain at fault 

guilt then to be gone? 

Diets became my life: 5:2, Atkins, cut the carbs, add the veg, but only when I started  walking further than the school run did a change begin. We joined a Gym, and I would  stare from treadmills, watching Trainers pushing people out of comfort zones they  appeared quite reticent to leave. Brain began to understand what hurt to do, sharp pain of  mental torture out of safe and into sorry, I can’t lift that any more… before Hayley found  me, then didn’t judge the fear but tamed instead, as calm transformed a world. 

Looking down into a toilet bowl 

urine brown and rough, I knew 

something very much was wrong; 

shower, then the hospital 

because you must be clean 

before you die, so people know 

respect of self existed in a mind 

which pleads for pain 

to stop itself, inhales once more 

(it worked in Paris, after all) 

desperate need to make it stop – 

as then, amazingly, it did. 

I’d not slept for three days straight, woken when my daughter came back from a friend’s,  laughing and joking downstairs with her dad, walking into kitchen when belief drained  from both faces, as the youngest blurted out; ‘you look just like Bart Simpson!’ 

Behold, jaundiced, true start… 

Everything has consequence; 

binge dieting, consuming too much fat 

wellness, misguided auspice meant 

gallbladder broke, gave out. 

The doctor said I’d passed a stone 

had it not moved 

I’d not be here 

to joke with an anaesthetist 

who wondered where patient’s minds went 

when he consigned them, one by one 

into unconsciousness… 

I went nowhere, memory so 

seamlessly combined into 

the room where then a woman woke 

without an organ, fast preserved… 

which now is used to teach those students 

at the University; 

bad diets destroy lives. 

Rachel is my trainer now, Hayley’s gone into PR, as cycle of redemption moves along: I  can’t eat avocado any more, so other things get smashed instead… inside my head, it’s  easier to grasp each body image maps from other people’s points of view. The months in  rehab, physio, those scars inside that never go, gave me the gall to challenge self, make  changes that still need to go beyond, push progress on, keep reinventing health. 

This is number ten within a series of vignettes that stand as a reminder,  one final epithet: 

you remain enough 

but always try for more; 

our future demands better 

accept this life 

more as you are. 

S Reeson [she/they] is 55, bisexual and married with two children: they have suffered anxiety for all of their life, and started telling stories as a ten-year-old in order to help them cope. Now, they write and record poetry, short stories and episodic fiction, whilst dissecting their unique creative process using both video and audio as the means to continue coping.
After winning a Poetry Society members’ contest (and reading that piece at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden) they attended the inaugural Mslexicon in 2019 and took part in their first Open Mic. In that same year they wrote 24 poems about their home town for the Places of Poetry online initiative, one of which is included in the official anthology published for National Poetry Day in October 2020 by Bloomsbury and subsequently reproduced by the Sunday Telegraph.
Their work has been published by Flights / Quarterly ejournal, Green Ink Poetry, Fevers of the Mind, Acropolis Journal, Selcouth Station, Black Bough Poetry and Flapjack Press plus they have participated in a number of Zoom Open Mics, including the Gloucester Poetry Festival, Flight of the Dragonflies and the monthly event at Wordsworth Grasmere. They’ve also learnt and grown creatively in poetry courses run by Apples and Snakes, Kevin Higgins, Wendy Pratt and Jonathan Davidson. A self-produced poetry chapbook was produced in November 2020 and in 2021 they read at the Essex Book Festival.
They enjoy living online, but also find great joy from lifting heavy weights, running and cycling in the meat-space. With what free time remains, they are pursuing an ASD diagnosis on the NHS.

They will be one of our featured guest poets on 5 April 2022, details here

@InternetofWords on Twitter

Flights, Issue Four, April 2022