Alone in my hospital room at night I watch tiny particles of dust and fluff swirl beneath the reading lamp. They say dust comprises of dead skin cells, we sweep them away when we clean, removing all trace of our former selves. Our cells are constantly reproducing and every seven years our bodies regenerate anew. Your body is repeatedly recycling itself but not your mind. Your mind is an entirely different story. Our brains become less active, neural pathways die, our memories fade and disappear, we lose skills and alertness, sometimes we even lose our sense of self.
But back in my mean small room, Ward 3A. I’ve been here fourteen weeks now. A reluctant patient, more like prisoner. So every night I sit, sleepless and thoughtless watching the dust and wondering if these are particles of the old me, a shedding of my past life. Occasionally moths enter through the open window and dance wildly in the pool of light, their fragile wings clinking against the electric bulb. Blinded and bewildered they circle. In the morning I find their wispy bodies spent and shrivelled on my sheets.
One day you’ll write about us, you said on your last visit.
A starry love story, a film…
Betty Blue meets Quadrophenia, you said. I said,
but how will it end? As I left you at Central Station you said, I’m missing you already. I said, never, remembering silence as we drove deep through Kielder forest.
There’s a bond between us
that can’t be broken, you wrote in your last letter.
Blood, sex, magic you said. I said,
I’m sick of bleeding
and magic’s not real
and there’s more to life than fucking.
I want to be cherished, You said, that’s cloying.
Sometimes, naked on star-less nights
I Google your name and wait.
Rising up, floating into the night,
radiant stars riding on light.
Like paper scraps sparking fire,
voices tangled in a drunken choir,
wild as leaves scattered by the gale,
ebbing from darkness, parchment pale.
Fluttering, rising, up with desire,
smoky waves, streamers, ruddy high-flyers,
ghosts, emperors, rustic gypsies, goths,
old ladies, true lovers, gold spangled moths,
flame shoulders, wood tigers, frosted hawks,
confused, uncertain, crescents and fox.
Rustling armies rising up from the ground,
fanning out like a motley cloud,
ascending the willows, the alders and pines,
dancing skywards, forever divine.
No longer resigned to their lowly doom,
here come the moths who will devour the moon.