rozk: (Default)
So An Editor rang me. She loved The Baker's Daughter and is doing an anthology, but doesn't have room for that. So could I write another poem? Same mood, but a lot shorter? And this is the point at which I realize that I am a professional, because of course I can.

(It is perhaps relevant that I have spend the last 18 months working on a committee about institutional transphobia in acute hospital care. Just a bit relevant...)

FROM THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD
I lay
burning
fragile.
White skin of pain
drawn
flushed
pink skin of fever.
Changing of season.
Under the skin
poison surged.
Where I am hollow
filled
yellow grey stink.

Every eight minutes
I could press
the button of relief
sleep's other sister
not death
loss of my companion
pain.
Agony's leaving
slow withdrawing tide.

Blank
sleep pain and Fetanyl
and Liszt
Hungarian Rhapsodies on repeat
round and round and thud and swell.
Possessed
sleep pain and music.
Mostly
I was somewhere else.

She hovered
the nurse
not nursing
muttering
comminations
exorcisms
prayers like scourges
curry brushes
that would have burned me if she could.
Her pastor said I was
unclean
possessed
seven demon inhabited,
swept and garnished

She was there to wash
to bathe
to drip
water from ice
Instead
Prayer and no touch
unclean possessed
danger to touch
danger to souls
a danger to her soul
her pastor said.

And I survived
my fever
and his Christian hate.
But this is how we die.

2

We die
We shatter at a touch
Prince Rupert's drops
dark glass bead
single sweet spot
that breaks us into shards.

Fragile - everyone
is fragile
yet we break
we die
lie broken.
So many of the few of us.

They didn't test her for a second drug
they waited for the fit to go away
forgot to check the withered fragile vein
they left him in the room for hours alone
thought the small ulcer was the only one
and so we died

forgot
left
assumed
failed
waited
left
and this is how we die.

3
But do not die alone
surround
our friends and sisters
brothers lovers
write their names
in books of hours, books of days,
books of devotion
illuminate
and decorate

hours, days, devoted by the bed

Ask, wipe the face
ice-cool fever
love and remind
and never pray
never pray as they do
just whisper
our names
and call us out of pain.
And hold our hands
hold us as we wake
and hold us if we die


fragile
not alone.
And this is how we die.
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 08:31 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios