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Three Poems by Rosie Garland

Cocaine Mummy

She tilts her chin at our stares as we ghost

past her crisp glass coffin. She cricks her neck,

cracks the wrinkled grin of an old stoner

who scored massive and isn’t telling where.

Her flattened dugs and gilded nipples

have been in and out of fashion

a hundred times, her shaved quim

also. She bares her teeth in a rustle

of laughter at the drone of our thousand thousand

questions, our rabbit-quick breath misting her window.

Dark side of the moon

You start to fade when the clocks change. The nights stretch out,

the days take in a breath and squeeze into a ball.

Your face hovers above the turned-down sheet.

Eyes shadow the pale bloat of your cheeks.

At night you blaze around the ward, unable to sleep.

The saline drip clanks, tugged by your angry gravity.

The nurse fills a tepid bath. Rising water sweeps gentle waves

over your waning thighs, the crescent bones of your pelvis.

You howl, crazy: the pain, the boredom, the sickness.

All you want to do is turn your face away from the glare.

Sir Thomas Aston at the Deathbed of his Wife

I reel to a tumult of voices. Laughing

or wailing, from her bedside I can not tell.

My collar is too tight, the string of my cuff knotted

into a lump by unquiet fingers.

Her hand is paler than my shirt. Face grey as my beard.

All blood has been given to the bed.

Her hair’s not right. She would never

have worn that dress. But it’s the nearest

she could find to something I would recognise

when she woke me in my dream last night

and said, I am at peace, I pray

you be peaceful too.

Rosie Garland has always been a cuckoo in the nest. She is an eclectic writer and performer and sings in post-punk band The March Violets. Her award-winning poetry has been widely published, including in Mslexia and The Rialto, and her latest solo collection of poetry is ‘Everything Must Go’ (Holland Park Press). Her debut novel ‘The Palace of Curiosities’ won the Mslexia novel competition 2011 and was published by HarperCollins in March 2013.

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