The Wounded

There was nothing but the hunt,
the pain, the struggle, the dark.
She had to keep running. Run!
She could barely recall a time
before the breaking of branches.
She could barely recall her time
of being human, of skin
touching skin and naked picnics
when she gazed boldly at the sun.
In her upright days moss and wild
flowers sprang from her every
footstep, birds sang her every word.

Now she ran on all fours. Run, run!
Her cloven hooves were raw, spiked
by thorns. She was pierced by nine
arrows, fur rank with pus. Venomous.
Calculating. The forest was silent,
a lifeless zodiac of roots and branches.
She could no longer recall her name
or why she had to run. Her lungs failed
and she fell in the shadow of a crippled
tree. As she waited for her joyful exit,
forked lightning unravelled silver
threads of hope across the night sky.


Note:- this is an ekphrastic poem based on Frida Kahlo’s painting shown below.


The Wounded Deer painting by Frida Kahlo

The Birthday

(a re-interpretation of the painting by Marc Chagall)

Too many bubbles in the Buck’s Fizz, said the triage nurse.
They were having trouble holding me down,
ankles bandaged to the steel legs

of waiting chairs for seven hours and counting.
Luckily everything was nailed in Emergency.
They threatened me with a heavy

radiation suit of lead. I threatened to sue.
Mark held tightly to my wrists as an extra
precaution (too tightly perhaps).

Urination from a height was Olympic.
I broke free and rose
to the top, beating my head on the ceiling.

I formed a neat hole, a short cut
to Maternity. This was not the birthday I’d expected
but I could still recall the sweetness of his watermelon.




Note 1:- The Russian artist Marc Chagall painted The Birthday in 1915.  The woman in the picture is Bella, his muse, whom he married later in the same year.   The oil painting is now displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.