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published in Scintilla 9, 2005, ISBN 0-9530674-8-3


Talking Cure


Sometimes I feel very small.

Iím lying on the carpet of the world.

My back is pressed into the earth.

Giant poppies are growing overhead.


I know you understand.


You always wait so patiently,

ready for me, in the early morning,

when Iím polishing the green corridor.

The nurse sleeps behind the counter.

Then, you and I, we can talk.


Your handís like a birdís skeleton.

Mineís etched with brown lines,

dried-up rivers in the sand,

pink half-moons in my fingernails.

You always squeeze my hand,

to let me know you can hear me.


The nurse says youíll die soon.

What does she know?

She thinks life is a bird,

trapped inside your rib-cage,

fighting all the time to be let out.

I donít think so.

Itís like water being poured

slowly back into the earth.


I touch the folds of your face,

ridges of sand on a wind-blown beach.

I think powder will come off in my hands.

It doesnít, but I see the places

where my fingers pressed,

though I touched you very gently.


I stroke your hair,

the endless surf on the coast of Africa.

I put your hand in my beard.

You curl your fingers in there.

I wonder what you think of my skin.


And I tell you,

I donít know why I left my home,

and came to this country.


Yesterday the nurse came.

She told me to go away,

that you were more awake.

Your relatives are coming,

though Iíve never seen them.

You wonít want to know me any more.


But Iíve crept in here, just for a moment

and I see that you are crying.

You lift your eyelids.

This is the first time I have ever seen your eyes.

They are two small blue worlds.


You say, as you smile at me,

 and stroke the hairs on my wrist,

ďSometimes, I felt very small,

I was lying on the carpet of the world,

my back was pressed into the earth.

Iíd look up and see the sunís face.Ē


Victoria Pugh


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