A Central Pain

The man in the bathroom,
his words are waiting
the way pips are suspended in the throat of an apple.

He spits into the sink.
Who is this man. Where is this bathroom.
He throws something into the bin from a distance.

His heartbeat vibrates little waves through the bathwater.
He is an island, after all.
The sound of his blood in his ears is a fuzzy,
high-pitched sound.

A voice from the next room calls out
come here.
Whose voice is this.
What do they want from him.

There is a pain between his shoulder blades.
It is a central pain, where wings would sprout from.

When he closes his eyes
he is in a room of people in identical clothes
refusing to dissect cow hearts –
their purpleness, their unromantic shapes.

It is a hot, bright day
and the smell of blood fills the air, or seems to.

Underwater he is rehearsing
once again
the moment he will pour forth words, which will be arrows,
which lodge in the thigh of a princess,

who looks at them but doesn’t feel pain.
The brain tells the body a lie. The brain
tells the eyes a lie.

The heart continues to beat
after it is removed from the body
like a mouth failing over and over again to find words.

(After R Perry)

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