The Lightning


The shimmering starts.
If I don’t turn my head
to try and look at it,
will it disappear?
If I don’t acknowledge
its existence is it even
really there?

Stimulation overload.
That was what we were
all chasing in our
younger days.
Now I navigate with caution.
Extra caution.
I duck my head to avoid
the flashing prisms.
Day time is dangerous for me.
The sun through the trees looks
so pretty,
yet my brain turns it into a
strobing possible death sentence.

And it isn’t my fault.
Really, it isn’t.

When the lightning comes
to take me,
it won’t care who’s around
or how much I’m fighting
against it.
It won’t care how careful
I was being.
It won’t care about all
the medicines designed
to stop it.

It will just strike
like an electric serpent
and take me down
in flames.

The fires smolder out eventually.
My skin holds the embers though.
Or at least the memory of them.
And I have to apologize always, you see,
to the bystanders
who are shaken.
They tremble.
It’s scary.

Someone once told me
a seizure looked like a
mini death.
I die multiple deaths daily.
I’m a super hero
always rising
from the ashes.
I’d trade in my cape to walk
down the city streets normally though.

That’s what my epilepsy is.
And it always feels like it’s my fault,
ya know?
I should have been better at
not seizing today.
I shouldn’t have gone out
and put everyone through that.

It’s easier to hide.
The technology age
has made it easier
to pretend like I exist
in a different light
than I actually do.

I’m so sorry.
No, I’m ok. Don’t call
an ambulance. I’m ok.”

The calm between fits is Heaven.
The seizure itself is hell.
And I rarely remember.
Thank God, I barely remember.

The aftermaths will forever
be etched in my mind though.
The cuts and bruises.
The worried faces.
The things that might
not really be there.
And the swirl of
unfamiliar places.

I’m still in here somewhere.
This quaking girl.
This sum of the worst thing
you’ve ever seen plus
the feeling of being so
helpless because you can’t
stop it.

Sometimes, I’m sort of aware
and I feel that way too.
I know I look ridiculous
and terrifying
and I can’t stop it either.

We’ll get through this.
We’ll both walk away.

The dark storm clouds
can’t hang around
every day.

I still have a pulse
when I’m pulsing.
I’m still breathing
even though I’m

That’s not rain on my face,
is it?
No, just
uncontrollable tears.


© Jennifer Patino (2016)

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