Foreign Body


A story about travelling through a tropical illness called chikungunya (affectionately: chicken dinner), published in Meanjin.


When visiting Couch, your body is not your own. Distances are distorted. IĀ could dimly make out my drink bottle poking through the zip of my red travel bag, which lay over an uncrossable desert of carpet on the other side of the room. I was thirsty.

I got to Couch in the usual way, having made it through all the checkpoints in time: incubation, fever, rash, arthritis. At duty free I picked up some extras: headache, nausea, vomiting, swelling, photophobia, desquamation, anxiety and loss of appetite. I set my heavy baggage down on Couch with time to spare.

Read the rest of this story on Meanjin (it’s free).