self diagnosis

self diagnosis

By Caroline Wolff

The patient is 5 months old. 

She has spent 81 days of her life in intensive care. 

The diagnosis: a little, 

incomplete thing, 

prognosis plague d by no murmur s of mobility, 

a failure to thrive. 

She is abnormal. 

She will vomit up 

the entirety of 

her cells, 

Skin flushed, 

leaking potential 

with it, 

Awaken from a 

d a n c e with death. 

She is sterile, angelic, 


A voluntary risk. 

The withdrawal is easy and negotiated. 

S o r r y, 

Mr. and Mrs. Wolff. 

She is temporary.

The child is 15 years old.

The diagnosis: a dilated, 

insignificant thing.

She is 


She thrive  s    in      worrisome    place   s.

Swallowing      sutures, w e l l-  versed in 


No more c o m p u l s o r y      tolerance; 

School is a dangerous place.

She is an occlusion.

A culture of

cautious optimism

extracted, dissected, 


They d e m a n d details, she opens.

Feedings over

feel ings,


c l o u d her systems.

Sepsis with a surgical

s m i l e

She is a complication.

Caroline is 21 years old.

She may never recover. 

This is o k a y.

The diagnosis: a developed,

free d   w o m a n.

They reduce her. 

She resists.

Pain persists. 

Life           s o me t i m es

e s c a p e s her,

But she thrive s in 

exceptional place s.

She is 


Draws satisfaction from small things.

She is innovative.

Speaks t o s h a d o w s,

She is careful.

Caroline is a return.

Caroline is the solution.

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