“Return(ing) to Sender”, when that illness brings to constant lying
My mother arrives in two days and there is nothing I can do stop her, to hide, to avoid her eyes seeing us for what we have become.
We are dying and I do not mind.
Mother, I know you will be horrified at what you will find. At what I have become. I know you will want to tear your eyes from their sockets and stuff them down my throat until you get an answer.
I am sorry that I lie. I lie to everyone now. That is what we have become. Liars. Beings that lie to the ones they love.
We lie because I do not know how to tell you that this body will not work. It will not let me put anything in it that will nourish it, that will add life to it. It fights me.
I want to blame this “illness”. Blame the others. The beings. But I am not sure that I am without guilt.
I find comfort in them. I trust them.
They tell me it is safer if the people we love did not know. If we kept this part, this dying piece, a secret. Those that love me love me too much to understand. Too much to permit this self-harming erosion of the flesh.
I am lying when I tell you that I do not enjoy this crumbling, this weakening, this wasting away. I am lying when I tell you I know something is wrong, I’m fixing it. I am not fixing it. We are pretending to fix it.
We are finding comfort in the inevitability of our mortality. Comfort in the fact that, with as little effort as possible, an easy ignoring of the flesh could easily return us back to sender.
Courtesy of the author
Link to the Italian translation
Nyachiro Lydia Kasese is a Tanzanian writer, poet and media specialist. Her first collection of poetry Paper Dolls was published in 2016 by the African Poetry Book Fund in their chapbook collection. Her poem Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas was shortlisted by the BNPA poetry prize in 2014 and her short story Inside Outside was long listed by Writivism in the same year.
She is the co-director of Paza Sauti Youth Festival based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, conceived as a free and safe space for young people in Dar to express, confront and explore real world concerns through poetry.
Her writing focuses on various themes around women including domestic violence, sexuality the body and mental health.
With regard to this, she has said: “I have come to realize that my body and mind are two different beings. I am learning to respect my body and the trauma it went through. The body doesn’t forget the things that have happened to it.”