One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days

By Giles Paley-Phillips

A unique semi-autobiographical novella written in verse that looks at the impact on a teenager whose mother is terminally ill

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

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