I was making my way home late one night
This summer, when I staggered
Into a snow drift.

Her eyes spoke of a sloe-year,
Her mouth a year of haws.

Was she Aurora, or the goddess Flora,
Artemidora, or Venus bright,
Or Anorexia, who left
A lemon stain on my flannel sheet?

It’s all much of a muchness.

In Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital
A kidney machine
Supports the latest hunger-striker
To have called off his fast, a saline
Drip into his bag of brine.

A lick and a promise. Cuckoo spittle.
I hand my sample to Doctor Maw.
She gives me back a confident All Clear.

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