By Flora Barber

A cough, a wheeze, nothing more, just a normal day.
It’ll pass; fade in the absence of concentration.
It’s what they always say.
“Go out to play, you’ll be home soon.”
How many more steps can I bear?
I just want to sleep, find comfort and warmth
To feel safe, protected from the whirlwind outside.

I was drowning on air, screaming but not a whisper leaving my lips.
Can they not see me? Could they not hear me?
My chest is heaving, every breath choking;
Help please, help, I’m being crushed from inside.
My muscles seizing, trembling, heavy with no sensation.
I’m fighting, slipping away, each second a lifetime.
All those people staring, talking, pointing.
I just want to go home.

How did I end up here? All these cables and tubes,
Flashing lights in my eyes.
Why wouldn’t they just go away?
Let me go home, I’m crying, trying to say.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Their words, all this noise, like an orchestra in freefall.
I just wanted to go home.

The whole world fades away, I’m falling.
I don’t want this struggle, this pain.
Falling down, deeper,
Faster, trying, gasping.
Their confused calm, panicked patience,
These flashes of consciousness, the effect of suffocation.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Begging then to stop, let in the silent darkness.
I just wanted to go home.

The stars, like fireflies, they dance through the midnight.
Like a phoenix, igniting, flaming, burning brilliantly.
The ashes fade, crinkling, crisply crackling.
Fading, burning out, we’ll disappear on a gasp of air.
Tossed onto a wayward wind.
It’s pitch black and we’ll never see the sun again.
Our voices, just whispering echoes in the back of their minds.
All I wanted was just to go home.

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