I have eight labels around my neck,
Compartments that you put a piece of me into every time it breaks.
Sometimes you take the label out and look at it with that silent furrowed brow,
You take out your pen and scribble it out.
I have eight labels stamped on my being,
Explanations for being not quite right.
I read them so often I forget my own name,
When you doubt them I question my existence and identity.
I have eight labels stuck to my skin,
You can’t always see them but I feel they’re still there.
Each is an instruction to give me something to swallow,
A licence to brew 14 medicines in one body and see what happens.
Sometimes I wear my labels with pride,
Like badges on a lapel and membership to a club.
I want to tell people how heavy they are,
When you question them I feel lost and defensive.
There are 8 labels around my neck,
I’m still me.