“28 Days Gone” by WITS Student Ian Bridges
November 15, 2021
Everything around us is taken for granted,
from the Sun to the Moon to the very wind at our backs.
It is with us so often, we don’t think of it as essential or vital
When it is taken from your life, you notice it.
You crave it, you hunger for it, like food to a starving man.
When you are alone, surrounded by four walls away from fresh air,
cut off from the sun, absent to feel the very wind
Or even to hear the rainfall outside your room.
You forget how important they are to you—
how it feels to exert your legs to climb simple steps.
How the sun glints off of the leaves of the trees.
How the wind sails past you and creeps against your skin,
like the cold embrace of a thousand needles.
It is strange how inviting the clamor of a city can be
after so long away from any noise—
the only sound for you the beeping of machines,
the pacing of nurses,
and the beating of your own heart.
There are few who know of this curse.
There are fewer who have lived it.
When I had been released from the hospital after my bone marrow transplant,
I knew this feeling firsthand.
I felt as the sun kissed my skin after a month of absence,
I shivered as the wind crawled against me.
I sighed in fatigue when I had walked up a hill for the first time in weeks
and I had grinned like a child on Christmas
when I was able to feel the rain on my head again.
Now I know, nothing should be taken for granted.
It all can be taken away, and once it is you don’t realize just how vital
How important and crucial it is, until it is gone.
Ian Bridges wrote this poem while a student patient at Children’s Hospital with WITS Writer-in-Residence Sierra Nelson. Ian read the poem to open our SAL Presents event with Peter Wohlleben on November 16, 2021.