It was a cold summer that year.
What I remember is the chill on my skin
as you stripped me in fiendish haste,
the raw southerly swelling and parting the curtains of the rented room.
Now, when life begins to leave itself
why is it this figment that clings?
Such a light thing, and yet it will not fall away.
My last curse may be to lose everything but this.
All I know is that each southerly quickens my breath; the dustbag mattress is under my hips
and the words you said and the words you didn’t say buzz and snap in my skull.
I can’t even care that in the end I will spout them
to some kindly nurse who has your laugh
when all I am is my plastic wristband and my list of medications
and the cardiologist is the only one who
messes with my heart.
© Melinda Smith
from Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry, 2013)