Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wolves and Butterflies

Yang to my yin, you attack my defenses, hard-wired to protect against hepatitis, Clostridium difficile and any number of God's afflictions. Vigilant even in your latency, your troops spread from bone and lymph to destroy my soldiers of antibodies and white blood cells. You gnaw on epidermis, feast on capillaries and nerves feeding into larger organs — tendon, kidney, liver, brain. Soon, I am sure, you will swallow my soul.

Every morning brings a new battlefield. Puffed up on prednisone, I drowse, immune to most skirmishes. But now you gather at the border of my heart, Capulets to my Montagues, no mere guerilla tactic -- I know, the x-rays confirm. So I shore up my armamentarium of corticosteroids, ibuprofen, Plaquenil, acupuncture to beat back the cells you've suborned and inflamed.

When you claimed the sun as your friend, you almost won. I admit, I mourn the day warming my face while I sat with my morning coffee, the slant of sun through dappled leaves, the buzz of birds and insects. (I do not miss butterflies.)

Then I found my anger and allied with the night. In dark safety, I shovel my holes and children make fun of me. “Werewolf,” they whisper. But I do not dig graves, only cradles, for wolfsbane and moonflower, evening primrose and columbine. When the plants are sunk, I sit on moon-licked grass, swaddled in the earth's loamy must and the flutter of moths, the night noises louder than my howl.

***

Inspired by the 52/250 Flash a Year Challenge theme 'rivals'. Also inspired by my Nana, dead now for some time from complications of lupus, an autoimmune disease famously noted for the butterfly rash that adorns sufferers during a flare. Like wolves, tdhose with lupus do not tolerate light. Peace, Linda

23 comments:

  1. Before I read your explanation, I was thinking the butterfly needles they use with medi-ports when someone has a central line during chemo. Lupus makes sense. Butterfly is a bad thing all around in medicine.

    I loved the hope and indestructible spirit of the MC. And, as always, perfectly written.

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  2. Wow. I really like the voice in this.

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  3. The metaphors running throughout this are perfect.
    ~jon

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  4. Prednisone just about ruined my life. Until then I thought the first paragraph was a melodramatic monologue from that wolf to the butterfly, which I think is substantially more hilarious than you intended it to be read!

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  5. OMG - I think this is the best piece of yours I have ever read Linda. Stunning. "You gnaw on epidermis" & "you gather at the border of my heart" blew me away.

    Wonderful, breathless reading.

    marc nash

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  6. Such fascinating description. You don't let up with the images and it really works.

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  7. Like Jon said, the metaphors are perfect and provide such stunning imagery.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  8. Fabulous metaphors. I particularly like "Capulets to my Montagues". The last paragraph is my favourite.

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  9. Beautiful imagery. I'm glad for the explanation, though. ;)

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  10. "Soon, I am sure, you will swallow my soul." That line gave me chills Linda. In fact, the whole story does. Having been tested for lupus three times, (with one result positive), I know that fight all too well.
    Outstanding work!

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  11. Fabulous piece of writing, Linda. At first I thought you might be talking of cancer but then when the sun and moon came into play I suspected it was something else.

    The image of someone out in the moonlight, friends with the night, was beautiful to me.

    Jai

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  12. "Then I found my anger..."

    What a wonderful turning point in this piece. The reader can feel the change in the MC's view.

    Good reading - because of good writing.

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  13. loverly.

    I lost a friend to Lupus several years ago, funny I have been thinking of her a whole lot lately.

    hugs

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  14. Bugger. Wordpress ate my comment.

    I said something along the lines of: the transition from internal to external conflict was done so subtly and beautifully here, Linda. Lupus is a horrible, insidious disease.

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  15. Fabulous! I love this piece and the voice, and the power emanating from your MC.

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  16. Strong images, Linda, and I like the connective tissue (so to speak) throughout. Thanks for sharing it.

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  17. I have a number of friends with Lupus (the chronic pain community tends to stick together) and I can appreciate this story on many different levels. Beautiful tribute.

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  18. OK, so that is stupendous writing. Poetic. Gorgeous. Words woven like a tapestry of life and pain and beauty. Stop being so good! You make the rest of us poor schleps look like rank amateurs!
    And John's right, prednisone is evil.

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  19. Thanks all of you so much for taking the time to read my story. Wow, I had no idea how much this would resonate on a personal level. I also have had work-ups several times for lupus, RA, and other autoimmune conditions -- there is a strong genetic link -- and always worry that I'll flip to positive. I was very close to my Nana, and witnessed much of her battles with the condition. She was incredibly heroic.

    To all of you who suffer from lupus and other painful conditions, my heart is with you. Peace...

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  20. Wonderful writing and a lovely tribute to your nana. The last paragraph really brought things together in the end.

    "But I do not dig graves, only cradles, for wolfsbane and moonflower, evening primrose and columbine."

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  21. So beautifully written, yet painful to read. The power of your words continues to amaze me, Linda!

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  22. beautifully written, painfully felt.

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