May 16, 2011

A Small Death in the Machine.


The cold ache of hospital light has stripped all colour from the hyacinths in my shaking hands.

Each quiver releases heady scent into the air, suffocating, sealing up my nose and mouth. But I can’t escape the dank, medical reek that coats her skin.

She is so

small,

the soft folds of her skin have ebbed into nothing

and we can already see the skeleton inside

rising up to take possession.

How lovely your bones are, grandma. We are arranged in triptych around you, we carry false hope, hyacinths and cards. The bed is raised high above the tacky floors and crackles with starch as we sit.

A low, omnipresent hum throngs the corridors, as if some huge bell has sounded.

The harsh light

bleaches us as white as the walls,

everything is inescapably white,

except

         

the gentle yellow crepe of her skin, shrouded in hospital blue, the birdlike hands that sweep up and say       hello.

The room is filled with doppelganger women, the place is a charnel house,

the bodies lie and silently

watch.


I taste the bitter machine coffee on my breath and I hope my kisses are not sour.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Samuel Dodson

    This is elegant, touching and extremely potent. “We carried false hope, hyacinths and cards” – how very human!

    I’d like you to change the simile “as if some huge bell had sounded” though! Seems a bit standard when you’ve got such a wider vocabulary going on elsewhere in the poem – but that’s just me!

    Anyway, great post, thanks!

    Sam.

    10 Jul 2011, 23:00


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