Jill Berrett

Cardiff, Wales



I am horizontal

not as in having my body etched by the movement of sand as I rest after furious waves

nor as in absorbing chlorophyll  from newly mown grass as I lie with my book

there is no photosynthesis for me,

no luxury lies in my lying.

I am not covered in clouds or staring at stars.

I am propped and pinioned, padded by pillows, muscles and joints

soothed, softened by silver grey cushions.


You may say this is a strange life, yet I share it with millions.

We are rocky outcrops scattered.

We are your hidden minority.

We are the disappeared, not by war or revolution,

    nor by famine or hunger

but by viruses, bugs, bacteria,

      by caring and loving,

      by throwing ourselves in front of the tanks.


If you want to seek us out, go look in beds, on sofas, on floors, in hospitals, in darkened rooms, in wheelchairs,

on every continent you will find us, linked by screens, and the thread running through, our words stronger than us

travelling where we cannot go.


Inside our bodies, inside our cells, inside our nervous  

    system and organs

a strike has been called,

    no choice involved.

Our bodies have closed down.

Yet inside our minds, there are past lives, intact in the memory.

In cupboards sit boots and outdoor shoes waiting to be worn,

in lofts are racquets running out of patience,

in wardrobes are dresses dreaming of the dance.


And inside I am growing back a life,

my heart vibrates to the sound of Japanese drummers

the rhythm of rapping awakens my brain,

movement of a kayak on transparent water reflects on my skin

Inside I am climbing as I remain horizontal.