Arterio Venous

Her country was besieged.
The Great Saphenous Vein,
a lonesome road to nowhere,
a waste-land, booby-trapped with incendiaries.
Scarpa’s Triangle sailed a quiet sea
and Hunter’s Canal lay stagnant.

Beyond a cotton screen of chrysanthemums
her body bore a map no longer secret,
sketched out in clumsy biro, red for arteries, blue for veins.
Red and blue make purple, she’d learned at school.
Legs splayed a landscape across the table,
roads and rivers marked
soft, pale flesh, inert on padded leather.
Like seagulls scavenging an empty shore
the white coats gathered in freezing stares
while she traced the tangle of petals,
leaves and stems interwoven beyond.

Pointless, she listened to foreign tales;
remembered a white horse
galloping circles in the wind,
her purple coat flapping open
as she ran down the road.


6 Bubble by Lydia Popowich