44-degrees of Scoliosis at Age 13

Revision:

44-degrees of Scoliosis at Age 13

by Marlena Chertock

He lives inside my flesh, slowly growing.
My spine forms shapes and curves to keep up
the twisted violin he plays of me, so
I wore a plastic mold of me, for him,
it pushed against him, got him to stay still.
I spent years wanting to rip off the hard
body, let the other underneath free.

For three years I complied, and four years, each
night, placed the needle on my thigh, pushed it inside
and clear liquid growth rushed through my bloodstream.
Wincing, I counted out to twenty-five and
pulled the needle out, swabbed the pinprick of
blood. Years coaxing body to grow, please grow.

Doctors want me to grow and spine to stop
twisting, but the liquid growth didn’t help
stop his curves. He’ll grow as long as I do.

I’ve stopped the injections, stalling my height
at four, six. Each year he twists, adding degrees.
I’m fated to be short, so he can slow.

Slow growth and they won’t operate, but fast
and they’ll align my spine from the inside,
fuse cartilage, borrow bone from my hips,
erase curves like they never existed,
my spine stretched to give me more height. Will he

go on twisting into my nerves,
collapse my lungs? The doctors say he is
balanced, 44 degrees on top and
bottom, he’s become an “S” inside me,
staying steady because of gravity,

but gravity’s been against me before,
giving me short height and an “S” in my
flesh. I’ve passed the time when they can brace me,
so now I’m just waiting. Is this “S” a
decisive one? I get X-rays each year,
more radiation, to see if he’s grown.
He decides what will become of my spine.

***

A Monster Inside

He lives inside my flesh, he is monster.
My spine forms shapes and curves to keep up the
twisted violin he plays of me, so
I wore a plastic mold of me, for him,
it pushed against him, got him to stay still.
Spent years wanting to rip off hard body,
let the other underneath free.  For three
years I complied, and four years, each night, placed
the needle on my thigh, pushed it inside
and clear liquid growth rushed through my bloodstream.
Wincing, counted out to twenty-five and
pulled the needle out, swabbed the pinprick of
blood.  Years coaxing body to grow, please grow.
Doctors want me to grow and spine to stop
twisting, but the liquid growth didn’t help
stop his curves.  He’ll grow as long as I do.
To grow or not to, is that the question?
I’ve stopped the injections, my height stalls at
four, six.  Each year he grows a couple more.
I’m fated to be short, so he can slow.
Slow growth and they won’t operate, but fast
and they’ll align my spine from the inside,
fuse cartilage, borrow bone from my hips,
erase curves like they never existed,
my spine stretched to give me more height, can it
be?  Or will he go on twisting into
my nerves, collapse my lungs.  Will he remain?

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2 thoughts on “44-degrees of Scoliosis at Age 13

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