When I come to see him at visiting time

he tells me he feels bloodless.

Mummified almost.

His bedside is aching with books;

a whole history rewritten

by a real hand. He tells me, shakily,

that fiction is bad for the nerves.


Perhaps I scared him when I said

his spray of vertebrae was real,

a chain of pale stalactites unfurling

until the man is an ammonite

still breathing underwater,

a sort of living proof.

Today in this bed of bleeping stars,

a tourniquet cuddles his arm. It soothes him,

counting the drip of his blood

blossoming through the lines.

He is thinking of the third time

he painted the bathroom red.


He lies when he tells me calmly

the second was an accident, the first a test.

The third time it didn’t feel real.

Cotton-gowned, his fossiled shoulders

are boned impressions,

gossamer-white beneath bedsheets

until the sun gives up its blood-lights

and sinks; pale as an egg.

It’s like that, he says:




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2 responses to “Falling

  1. radiantF

    Hi there, Wow, this is incredible. I work as a psychiatrist and I remember your poem Ana and I vividly from the Hippocrates Anthology last year. I am your new biggest fan!! I try to use medical language in my poems- this is just beautiful, and moving too 🙂 xx

    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kind words! Which poem did you write? I actually hate my Ana and I poem looking back! It’s still a topic I find doesn’t want to be put into words, it still feels a bit too raw.

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