:: Article

11:23 and other poems

By Katie Fanthorpe.

11:23

I unhook two fingers down my throat
and here they come back again with their
new and brave ideas.

Fallen in my lap is the regurgitated sink plug on which hangs
my previous misconceptions. Do you remember the tarn?
I wanted to pull the plug on that too,
drain all the oceans to see what
death their hiding. Some sodden leaves
and a library loan list.

The slow dissolve of sheep into the mist
brings up how little I can bend my wrist back to reach
new heights. Red and grey roll with the sound of
total exhaustion, the small vortex of an
astonished face, a slow clap for green gradients.

I spread out my fingers and let them dig along
the in-seam. My chest has always been a riverbed.
What’s your excuse?

Blood Test

She tells me to
make small fists so they can find the blood flow,
and with each river that bubbles up I feel sparks of forgotten aggression. Swallow the needle. Search for a strength of tide.

They couldn’t find a vein; the body’s deserted.
Discard the needle and come forward with the axe.
You have permission to break open
the treasure chest.

Get Sharon from down the hall
so she can realign my vital organs.
Have you eaten? Are you anxious?
This will feel like a small scratch.

The flood and its warm tumbling
are suspicious, bash an arm
against the doorframe for good measure,
but Sharon’s lost my pulse.

As a result of increasing pressure my body disappoints.
The tributary refuses until the final proposal:
We’ll have to go through your hand.

Veins sigh blue expression, in come the vampire bats and the hoard of black cats. This new red stream
vacuum trapped.

katiefanthorpe

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Fanthorpe is a poet and writer living in London. She recently completed an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Sussex. Her final thesis focused on loss and its articulation through poetry and photography, themes that often resurface in her own poetry. Her recent poem ‘You Can’t Mourn Everything’ can be found on Sea Foam Mag.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, February 18th, 2017.