On and off for thirty years,
the lone glow of green on a square
rarely reaches a dark 2g a day
most of the time
its tenure is lime to yellow:
the tiniest trace of proteinuria

which is a fancy way of expressing
I basically piss out the good stuff
with regularity.
In body awareness circles they say
this indicates self-hatred
and fear.
Mostly it’s no big deal.

The poems to follow over the next few days may be difficult reads. That is, they draw on the tougher and more confusing experiences life throws at us such as health challenges, mortality, life’s disappointments and the indignities of ageing.

Glomerulonephritis refers to an inflammation of the glomeruli, which is responsible for filtration in the kidney. Inflammation results in an increase in excreted proteins. With decreased protein in the blood, the body swells with oedema. Dipsticks, with a small square of filter paper, are used to test how much protein might be present in the urine. Since the August after my second birthday, I have been on medication for glomerulonephritis. For decades I dismissed the presence of this circumstance. However over the last two years, I have become more vocal and self-indulgent about it.

Such extravagance, like the turn to self-embroiled subject matter in my verse, might be a passing phase of self-involvement. This is a fancy way of saying, perhaps I am inclined to self-created drama at present.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via

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