❦Clay Coloured❦

Bleak and bland, a bothersome blight.




I thrash my way through the night,
fully consumed by a burning fever -
a chimerical heat that glows bright white at its center
and blushes a flustered red around its edges,
like a sun or candle or bonfire.

A dear thrush announces dawn, clear whistle,
and I rise, naked as a babe
and polka dotted in gooseflesh
from the nipping cold and sharp, shrill birdsong.
In the shower: water’s scalding and I’m scouring
myself crimson, the ivory soap
stands out against my belly, like an old scar.

I feel like myself again,
as though I have been exorcised
from another body (not my own) and returned home
in a neatly wrapped brown parcel,
shoved right back into place.
My soul is a sweat drenched pillowcase,
hung on a slack washing line to dry in the sun.

(Who will wash my winding sheet,
and who will wrap it ‘round me?
Who will guide me through eternal sleep,
and where, when will it find me?)

When I sleep alone, I toss and turn
and pull the sheets out of place.
I scratch at the mattress, like a fox in the snow,
trying to find where the fever hides itself.
I know once it bites, once it hits, it lingers
and it always refuses to break.