Instructions for a Sick Day

By Eloise Faichney

Roll the blinds up

so the light is inescapable,

so that you cannot oversleep.

Doze too long regardless,

waking to a damp pillow,

your hair swamped with

fragrant, feverish sweat.

The body isn’t sensual

on a sick day; it is an

entrapment of mortality,

a betrayal of mucus

spilling like an overfilled pail

on the way back from the well.


Read a web MD article

about a man who

had the sniffles and woke

to find a flesh-eating parasite

had taken both legs. Don’t

worry what the neighbours think

about your cornflake-encrusted

trackpants; about the wails

of your snot-fountain as

it geysers into tissue after tissue;

about the 15 minutes you spent

sprawled on the living room carpet

stroking the fibres as if they

could save you. They couldn’t.


Become deliriously

creative with your snacks,

with your texts to loved ones

regarding your imminent demise.

Netflix and ill. Do not swallow

antibiotics; like the carpet

fibres, they cannot save you.

Honey, lemon, ginger, hot water,

a shake of cayenne pepper. Repeat.

Remember, “Ebola” was just a river

in Africa. Now the word curdles

your bodily fluids with fear.

And all of this is just nature.


You may feel as though

you are losing your mind;

don’t panic. Stay away

from the Netflix Jonestown

docudrama, bad true crime

shows and “Botched Bodies”.

You’re far too fragile for that.

Keep your fluids up—be a human

water bottle. Rest. Try your best

to forget about necrotising fasciitis.

Rhinovirus has ravaged your body;

you cannot let it take your soul.

You were built for this white cell fight.

Remember, nature is terror.

Image by Christopher Campbell



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