• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 01


What stirs, that mortar of the nurse -
above the grouting neatly lined
between such geometric maths,
well-ordered, neat, predictable -
there crushed, mashed, beaten, pulverised?
Now was it Matron’s reprimand,
a first encounter, bedside loss,
the drain of ten days straight on nights,
that houseman making other calls,
recurring, is vocation real?
But this must stay, half-light, behind
the wall of silence, shade on shade,
plunged pestle grind on basin steel.
Wring fingers, sob cloth, these must wait;
here study of the incomplete.
Is this an act of mercy primed,
starched tiles, dun tones, another shift,
an undercoat yet scratching flesh,
grey uniforms with ovoid face,
for such the roll in vestibule?
Hospital corners, pristine sheets,
commissioned art to paint the place,
plumped cat, feline of Middlesex,
generic tab, disinterest,
unlike art used as subterfuge.
It’s plain to see, but those who look,
intensive care behind the planes;
this too might might find a welcome home,
short journey from Fitzrovia.