Daniel Sluman


 
 
		Phantom

		You say the bargain was met when my leg hit the fire
		tumour cracking  like glass    in medicinal heat
		& it’s only desire to fill      like love      burnt
		as the contract ripped in two      the hairless skin
		of my femur whittled back to the bone   the weights
		were re-set            blanked over      & this was the price
		for life to be here      glittering with laughter
		between the sheets    with you

		but physics tells us   nothing leaves
		so at night   when we’ve drawn the  day’s work
		from the curtains    & set the plates back in the drawer
		this phantom clutches my hip        & hauls me
		to the floor       the stump as tense   as the hornets’ nest
		we bagged from the shed in a bin-liner  that summer
		the tremor in our hands   not anger but desperation to live
		like the satchel of sparks my scar zips tight     pleading
		to be dragged back from its death          bone
		long rotted to ash & carbon    spilt in a stream

		& sucked by weeds to further the simple life of light
		to grow           just as my spine has strained
		the left side tautened    into a ridge of muscle
		over the cleft      as if preparing for the return
		in this life or the next     ready to pull the tendons
		tight        find the angle where the socket latches
		& clamps         to slip back over the leg
		the doctors damned  with swathes
		of iodine   & saws
 

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