Daggers at my eyes. Not daggers,
not sharp stabs. Rather skewers,
the kind that pierce cooked lamb –
skewers of pain, interrupting a deeper,
more consistent vice-like grip.
Not a grip, not like a claw.
A containment. A clutch.
A soupy embrace, overfamiliar,

eye       ear        jaw      neck     shoulder

This is not the worst part.
This is pre-vomiting;
I can still make sentences.

In a while, language will dissolve
into pure sensation, pure horror,
I will not be able to speak,
or walk, or read, or want anything
but blackness, silent blackness –

I will be admitted,
hooked up to a drip.
Morphine will make me worse
strip lights overhead
reek of hospital food
will make me worse,
so much worse

three days of this:

at night on the ward,
the nurses are changing shift:
bed 4? she’s just got a headache


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