An excerpt from

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days

Giles Paley-Phillips

Physio Day 108

The clapping under my arms,

my back,

my chest,

is relentless.

“The infection was really severe,” she says

“You've been coming here for quite a while.”

The clapping is percussive, and I close my eyes

The rhythm is somehow soothing, then I ready myself

my position is crucial to make the procedure effective,

to loosen the secretions caused by the infection.

“That's it” she says

“You're doing a good job”

Clap... Cough...

and the cup below becomes stained with green spit

Each cough removes just a little bit more.

It's been weeks since I started,

I hope it's nearly all gone.

Before

I try to remember

what it felt like before

I try to remember

before it all happened

before she was ill

before I was ill

I try to remember...

...before