Alison Eastley

Needles and Pins

Frida kept her ampoules of drugs
behind Diego's underwear
in the drawer beside her bed where she screamed
at her friends to find a soft spot she hadn't painted like a retablo
without the miracle of not
when introduced to necrotic
flesh which is another of Frida's tricks, how she forced her visitors
to take a peek
and then of course, she'd laugh. This was probably the euphoria
if you like, the high of taking so many drugs,
the swirl of a room made smaller than false hope
pray all the surgery will keep them passive with vertical scars
taking them far
from the straight and narrow some say is surreal
wining and dining
fabulous painters who seem far too injured
to ever be real.


Some Nurses Go Too Far In Room 29

Opposite the nurses station, the room
where a patient recovers
from a major operation to do with the gastro
intestinal tract, some nurses go too far
and it may be the shock of it,
the mess of it, the smell of essential oils,
industrial sized deodorant sprays
and shit emptied from the colostomy
bag which coincides with the anus surgically
removed. Sitting is difficult. The perineum
is excoriated and the brain is confused by
phantom rectal pain. Some nurses go too far
and say to the sobbing patient,
'your colostomy is a beautiful rose'
when it looks more like the inside of a mouth,
only puckered a bit, only covered
by a plastic bag somewhere above the waist
for easy access which is not to say
it can be used for anything except meticulous
cleaning of the surrounding skin.
There's the loss of privacy, of pride. Most
of the nurses are kind although some think
strange things when observing mutilated
skin stitched somewhere between 'body-image'
and 'intimacy' in the brochure
it is mentioned that anal sex is impossible,
that the colostomy must not be used,
that it must be refused to be a puckering
mouth. It may as well be a flower.


Alison Eastley lives in Australia with her two teenage sons, a staffy pup, and sometimes, her wonderful Larry. Previous work has been published in Mannequin Envy, A Zygote In My Coffee, Word Riot, Thieves Jargon with forthcoming work appearing soon in apostrophe.