my pain moved in — new to the house but familiar — he strolled down the hall with the swagger of an agent on inspection day, tutting at the artworks, the bourgeois trappings — presaged by a turn in the bone or a slip of cup and lip — he says: I’m way different — even his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream (or screen) — waking way past midnight – dialling anyone’s number — pick up, pick up, pick up— muzzed in the kitchen with brandy and ibuprofen — each second announcing each second’s progress — towards day when appointments can be named and fugitive journeys on buses — my pain cries: you think of abasement, of lying supine waiting for medicine’s deprecation — says: I’m your pain, don’t look away — I have secrets only you will understand — I am the ante-room to the palace — and at the end of this, at the end…

Image: Photo by Cindy Tang on Unsplash. 144 words for Dverse where Bjorn is hosting and asks us to include the line “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream” from Maya Angelou’s poem Caged Bird.

And this week I’ve been listening to the marvellous mournful Sarah Davichi with Pale Bloom

8 thoughts on “understand

  1. Oh, wow. Great personification of pain – an unwanted, badly behaved guest, bringing threats and fear with him. I hope this isn’t true, and if it is true, I hope he moves on soon. Really pulled me in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let us all hope this is flash fiction. It’s a wonderful portrayal of pain becoming all-encompassing.


  3. Gorgeous piece of polished bone describing the nights that won’t end, Peter. So the palace: one steps out into empty space I imagine, because that, that will be better. Too relatable, a glass of Pinot Gris now.


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