counting needles / ode to NT

one
dying spider
half crushed
as it crawled
across my face
a little voice
    “stop
   stop
  it’s not too late”
a little voice
heard
too late

the sound of clattering
crashing
on the trolley
behind
a stumbling
of hands
/     was I sure
she was sure    /

yet
“oh you’re skinny
this will be easy”
still rang in my ears
as two
strangers
stood by my bed
my trust
in their hands

and three
anaesthetics
so quickly
administered
“can you feel this”
too quickly
asked
/     passed     /
then on
with counting

four, a twitch
five, a start
six, the air
now thick
with swears

  seven

too
much
movement

  eight

a plea
to at least
take a break

  but nine

no
not possible
we’ll continue
just count
to 16
til the sobs
and gasps
bring one
kind face
to enquire
and make
the second
stop

“I can’t tell
if you’re laughing
or crying”

the relief
of stopping
echoing
through the ward
enquiring faces
straining from beds
why the racket
why the fuss

“your spine
    too compressed”
she storms off

and I
am left to count
strange hairs
on the bed

and moments
of regret

***

© megwaf 2016

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