As soon as the anaesthetic wore off,
I knew something was wrong. As if my head
had been split into two – a house turned into flats,
someone upstairs who at first was nothing more
ore than a slammed door, the scrape of a chair
then I’d find a bike propped in the hall, a parcel
on a console peppered with foreign stamps.
How my body feels now?
The best analogy is a borrowed coat on a night out,
shoulders boxy, arms too long. I used to move
with a dancer’s grace: fluid; elegant. Now I walk
with a cocksure strut, chew gum, sit with my knees
far apart as bookends. I’ve begun to mumble when I talk
and my hands no longer accent my words.
Last week I packed up the classical box-sets,
put them on eBay while Charles was at work,
downloaded hard rock onto a recently acquired iPod.
Did I mention the nightmares?
The rush of racing a Suzuki down a dual carriageway
when a juggernaut in the next lane starts to drift
sideways, careers into the central reservation? I swerve,
the bike catches the tailgate and I’m doing a pirouette,
an uprooted tree in the eye of a tornado. I wake
drenched in sweat, the thud of my new heart
loud as the smack of a head on tarmac.
I’m off to Brighton this weekend.
To a pastel blue mid-terrace house I’ve never seen.
To the corner of Wycliffe and Albion, where I’ll find
a gang of lads smoking, knocking back warm cider
from a passed-round can. Not quite ready to stand
closer together, close the gap; mention his name.