cat scan

 A craw wind catches me and I trip

past gatepost guardians, the turn of railings,

into the hospital grounds — hypodermic

drinks darkness deep, shows it to the light.

An apple’s skin can never know its core.

In the sting of a burnished room,

glass and disinfectant hold me safe and distant,

the scratch of gown makes me smaller than I am.

A cracked voice cuts into the hollow

of the machine, as it spins and slices me

like ham. Don’t worry, it says. You’re almost done.

Inside the blink and grind, the growl of plastic —

deep and still — I see a field in the half-light

of summer’s dusk, grasp a long feathered grass,

the nub of its soft head, wet like a kiss.

Three black lines, track to another somewhere,

pass the house and barn, their cut silhouette

gentle, an inevitable homecoming.

I find a face in a tree, there — black eyes

and truffle snout, mouth agape in silver skin.

I hold its gaze in the drizzle of darkness,

humming to myself; the tree bends to listen.

I hum the song again, in the quiet room,

where they tell me, spinning tree, grass, night,

through and through my fingers. Back out on the street

the wind shifts. I brace for the oncoming squall.


Listen to Angela read the poem.


’A powerful poem, powerfully crafted. The language throughout is chosen with precision, taking us from the “blink and grind” of the CAT Scan to the remembered or imagined comfort of “a summer’s dusk” where “humming to myself; the tree bends to listen.” The last four lines of the poem are a tour de force of subtle restraint.’
— Monica Corish - Allingham Poetry Competition