Sore Throats and Goodbyes

 

 

 

 

 

 
By Evannia Handoyo, Yale-NUS College ’17 – See bio

I sneeze,

And sneeze,

And sneeze

again.

This itch at the back of my throat

Is no dear friend.

Be it water,

be it chicken,

be it rice or mie..

Whatever I try to swallow

Drags and crawls down painfully.

I’m 18, so they no longer say

Udah mau gede ya,”¹

When I’m sneezing away.

Instead, I take

neozep and panadol flu

And sleep

And sleep

Too lazy to move.

I sneeze,

And sneeze,

And sneeze

again.

I wish I was less disgusting

As I see off my friends.

Be it tea,

Be it mochi,

Be it kit kats or cake…

The sweets on the table don’t

sweeten the break.

I’m 18, so they no longer say,

“Udah mau gede ya,”¹

When I’m sneezing away.

Instead, I say it,

Repeatedly on my own

Mau gede ya,²

Mau gede ya,”

To make it easier to swallow.

This season of sickness

And these bittersweet times

The sneezes and wheezes

And temporary goodbyes,

Sudah mau dewasa, mungkin,³

I’m halfway grown.

I’m starting the year

Unabashedly calm.

Let me doze off

So this sore throat will heal.

Strong enough, again

To eat, drink, and feel.

¹Roughly means “Must be growing up, huh?” in Indonesian. It’s a common response upon seeing or hearing about a sick toddler in Indonesia; as if the sickness marks the time when the child moves from one phase to another in his or her development.

²”Growing up now,”

³Roughly means, “Already an adult now, maybe” in Indonesian.

2 comments

  1. Dana

    I love this poetry. Definitely relate to all of us starting Uni soon!

  2. Amrullah

    @Dana. I know right! oh the dreadful feeling of burning the midnight oil, last minute assignments…

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