by Patrick Wright
Now the treatments have passed
I see the shape of Wales in the clouds. You tell me to ‘go there,
anywhere but here.’ Just days now, where we, a pair condemned,
gaze different ways. Now the treatments have passed, your fingers
fidgeting craft won’t say how you feel. Your brain, a country
I cannot reach. The one outside the ward, easier to see. Should
I find a nimbus in your bruise, should I? Now the treatments
have passed, those stars are the work of cannulas. Your shoulder
blades, riddled with roadmaps, full of furrows I anoint, final acts
of love. I caress your swollen legs, your bed sores. Now the
treatments have passed, I massage your sacroiliac, place packs
at the base of your back, say goodbye to your breasts, goodbye
to your legs, goodbye mons pubis. My kiss lives on your forehead.
Now the treatments have passed, drinks I fetch from the fridge
are a pittance. My hands are healing hands. Surely you need no
oxygen mask. Now the treatments have passed, your hair unsheds –
an evergreen? All pristine aside from cells which surge
like an army, your ballooned kidney attached to a tube,
attached to bags. Now the treatments have passed, I’ll
be your Christ when you lend me your balm. Or am I your Magi
as I bring you gold (a ring worn to X-ray), frankincense (a final
attempt), myrrh shipped from eBay? My gift: to hold this grief
for you, take home the debris of visits which clutter the room.
My love, you’ll be my Christ. I’ll wear the scar.
Patrick Wright has a poetry chapbook, Nullaby, published by Eyewear (2017). A full collection will follow in 2019. His poems have appeared in several magazines, including Agenda, Wasafiri, The Reader, London Magazine, the High Window, and Ink, Sweat and Tears. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.