Cerebral Cage

Emily Coleman

For her, home was

A syruped thickly of honey

And that newlywedded sunhumming glow.

The soju that sat oodled in pools in rings in spoken

Atop the verot-black, back verot black bench,

Their percussion of food and drink

In drunken love with the sound of each others voice and laugh

And when pregnancy test showed double dash

It was indulgence

Never ailed with the early morning nauseous twists women disliked;

Bloom cheeked peaches

Under a drippy sugar sky

The happy feel good – pulsing and humming her veins;

But the birth told her no.

No, it changed her

That epidural curdled, hurt her

A blunt numbed push spoke her into lulls of deep sedation

Edged her further from four walls and fireplace,

Further into the mind – thick with graffiti and snakey tangled spit

She is sat as sickle over tea

With son purring in cotton clean clothed coil

In the hairline crack between wake and rest

The sky above hissed down with showers

The door clicked unlocked, brushed open.

And for the first time, the dining table was scalped bare

The air stayed stale flat and greyed

Wading in stagnation

The rot ate and spat and giggled back sick

While varicose veins vined winding up her thigh

Face me, love

And for a moment she did,

He saw her again

Saw her, wife, woman

Brown deep eyes wise wild wonder

But the glassy glaze stared back thick