the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013

Personal Questions

Rosie Garland

—Sure, You Can Ask Me a Personal Question—Diane Burns, 1989

No, I’m not a smoker. No, I never have been.
Yes, it’s one that smokers get.
No, I’m not a heavy drinker. No, I never have been.
Yes, it’s one that drinkers get.
Yes, you can say it’s unfair.
No, I don’t see it that way.

No, this isn’t a punk haircut.
No, this isn’t a perm.
No, it wasn’t this curly before.
No, I don’t want to wear a wig.
Yes, I could get one on the NHS. A pretty one. A good one.
No, I don’t want to wear a scarf.
Yes, I could get one on the NHS. A pretty one. A good one.

No, I haven’t tried multivitamins.
Or selenium.
Or coenzyme Q10.
Or folic acid.
Or beta-carotene.
Or coffee enemas.
Or broccoli.
Or linseed.
Or the Gershon technique.

Ah, so you have an aunt with cancer.
Ah, your brother.
Yes, it’s the same as Michael Douglas.
Yes, things have moved on since you were a boy.
Yes, there’s a better chance these days.
Yes, it’s amazing what they can do.

Thanks for saying I look well.
No, I don’t feel it.
No, I don’t like it when you squeeze my hand.
Or hug me.
Or stroke my hair.
And say it’s soft as a baby’s.

Yes, these electric wheelchairs are useful
Ah, so you think they’re brilliant.
Ah, so you’d like one yourself to get about.

No, I don’t think I’m brave.
Really, I don’t see myself as brave.
No, really.
If you must, then.

No, there’s nothing you can do for me.
No, there’s nothing you can do.

Back to Volume 13, Table of Contents

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