“Idiopathic Illness” a New Poem by Meghan O’Rourke

From the New Collection Sun in Days

September 26, 2017  By Meghan O'Rourke

Idiopathic Illness

I threw hollowed self at your robust,
went for IV drips, mercury detoxes, cilantro smoothies.
I pressed my lips to you, fed you kale, spooned down coconut oil.
I fasted for blood sugar, underboomed the carbs,
chased ketosis, urine-stripped and slip-checked.
Baked raw cocoa & mint & masticated pig thyroids.
You were contemporary, toxic, I can’t remember what you were,
you’re in my brain, inflaming it, using up the glutathione.
I read about you on the Internet & my doctor agreed.
Just take more he urged & more.
You slipped into each cell. I went after you with a sinking inside
and medical mushrooms for maximum oom, I plumbed
you without getting to nevermore. O doom.
You were a disease without name, I was a body gone flame,
together, we twitched, and the acupuncturist said, it looks difficult,
stay calmish. What can be said? I came w/o a warranty.
Stripped of me—or me-ish-ness—
I was a will in a subpar body.
I waxed toward all that waned inside.


From Sun in Days by Meghan O’Rourke. Copyright © 2017 Meghan O’Rourke. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Meghan O'Rourke
Meghan O'Rourke
Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the collections Halflife and Once, and a memoir, The Long Goodbye. A former editor at The New Yorker, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor for the Paris Review. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Poetry, the New Republic, and Poetry, among others. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, and other awards, she lives in Brooklyn.

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