When my leg betrayed me for the second time
It had started slowly, randomly
Small patches of red started raising up along my calf
And I knew the war had returned
And within two days
I had called in for reinforcements
In other words,
I was in a hospital bed with a needle jabbed into my veins
Dripping in two different antibiotics
My leg was red, swollen, a hungry beast
I had been sweating out the days
Until conversations saturated my skin
I spent time alone, until the thunder in my leg
Had been my only companion
And like any one-sided negotiation
Frustration rattled my tongue
I wanted to cry and wear my tears as a coat
Pull them in close, so I wouldn’t be afraid
See this was the moment I realized how alone I really was
Shadows made great friends, watching as I tossed and turned
They didn’t talk much, and I felt the world fall away

When my leg betrayed me
It went rogue and threw the rest of me in shakes
And the fever weaved in and out
Until I could speak several languages
Sleep danced with my uneasiness
And I woke up in the early morning
I kept the television on all day and all night
So when hallucinations came
I wouldn’t know the difference

When my leg betrayed me the second time
I knew fear
It rested next to me holding my hand
Ran its fingers through my sweat coated hair
Told me I was beautiful
And then introduced me to strength
Pressed against my back
Whispered each name of my exes into my ear
Burden, the word caught on my tongue
Until I choked upon silence
Fear rocked me to sleep
As the clock hands ticked a lullaby in my ear

When my leg betrayed me a second time
It had started slowly, randomly
And lasted what felt like a lifetime
In a week they had pulled the needles from my skin
And I left
Scarred from this battle
That took me hostage
Until I learned to dance
To the pounding of my heart
And noticed
The distance of my loneliness
Balled together
It lodged itself into my swollen leg
And fear gripped me
For every step
I limped out this battle, knowing
We would face each other again
Red, hot, hungry beast
And I could hear the low rumble
With each stride


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