1. Twenty seven days. Feverish, I ask the doctor why. He looks at my notes, yellow folder telling him nothing and everything.

It will pass, he says.

Everything passes.

Take paracetamol, he says.

Universal panacea. Won’t it harm the baby?

It’s your first, you’re bound to be anxious.

  1. Anxiety knows no bounds as I lie there and sweat.

Do you feel the first lump, or do I?

It’s just your glands. You must be fighting off an infection.

Late night screen glows with possible diagnoses, cancer never far from mind.

My stomach grows, skin stretched taut, and I daren’t ask.

We … just … need … the … months … to  … pass.

And one day the lumps have gone anyway and I don’t think again, awash in breastfeeding.

Anti-apoptotically, your host cells persist and replicate.

Pro-apoptosis effector proteins, are disrupted,

Conformational change,

Proteins stymied.

The host will eat itself,

T.gondii triumphant.

  1. It’s amazing how quickly time passes with one young child, then a second.
  1. The first trace is a splash of yellow, bordered with black on the glowing red-orange of the back of his eye. Technology is marvellous, the doctor says as she shows me on the screen.

Can you cut it out, I ask.

It’s been there for years. He has two eyes. If you hadn’t had his eyes examined he might never have noticed.

Perhaps we should have remained ignorant. We were never meant to see the inside of our eyes.

  1. Is it obvious to everyone else? Omniscience is inhuman. Who knows?

I didn’t. And if I had known what could I have done?

I’m up late on the internet again.

Raw meat, soiled fruit, catshit? Nausea comes, years too late.

  1. Late nights are typical of teens, I read. In fact, it’s against nature to wake them early.

Let them sleep.

It’s normal for boys to become uncommunicative.

Of course it is.

It’s not normal to see things, hear things, that no-one else can perceive.

By then it’s too late.

Knife descends, repeat, and I wish I could have cut it out years ago.

The peculiar desperation of selling blood

There’s a price on everything, I find, and it’s not just tins of beans and jars of coffee. I could write about coffee, script dreams of vente lattes, towering foam, sing a macchiato, black/white clash, soul sold for cappuccino, is it fair trade, hold the chocolate, but even the deficiency of own brand instant won’t explain the lack.

There’s a price on everything, you see. Some people have money but no time. You claim time but no money endows you with a different sort of richness. Richnesse, richesse, largesse, how will you share it, spare it? Can time flow over, abundant excess?  Can you really give time, donate, donner, Dona? What do you do when neither time nor money mean anything, the money isn’t there, or it is yet it is valueless, and the hours are too long, but are too short to fill the lack?

There’s a value to everything that you don’t see. The value of knowing each of your possessions is there. What do you need? It changes, with time, with person, with the life that you are living, but think. What is the value of knowing that jar of coffee is there, when you don’t want a drink? Take it away, takeaway, small cardboard cup, no longer warm in your hands, and for a moment sit with the lack.

There’s a value that you don’t see. You don’t see. Not seeing, does that mean it’s still there? Is the cup still warm? Am I, are we, are you still valuable? I pour the boiling water, listen, hope, scald fingers again. I pour the boiling water, listen for the bleeps, success. You don’t see, do you? Moments pass as the water runs from metal to clay, energy of heat, of movement, transferred, transported. And if I cannot see it, am I blind, or are you? Sight is priceless, is that not true? Or is it a commonplace, too easy to say, too easy said, falling off your tongue like the water falls later and burns me? I pour, switch on the tap, tap, taps, fixate on the flow, the rush, feel the rush as the water flows, scalding. Listen. Can’t you see? Does the noise of flow fill the lack?

There’s a value, don’t you see? A value that says pass or fail. No six six, no six sixty, now you’re blind. But in blindness, we still see together. What’s blind, and what is partial sight? Classify me. Put me in a box and ignore my discomfort until it hurts you too. Did you see the girl in a box, no arms, no legs. Pure torso. Uncomfortable yet? Stay with me. Come with me, and watch as light transforms, each silhouette a life. The contrast has a certain clarity, life is beautiful when you can’t see the detail. Can you see? Face the sun. What’s glare to you transports me, new world with each change in the weather. It’s the value that you put on clarity, clairity, éclairité, éclaire, and I become lighter and lighter until I float away. Do you feel the lack now?

And where’s the value in the binary, the black and white? I see the silhouette: do you? And the black is no longer black. Tones shimmer, sepia brown and gold spills from the edges as solid men morph, a gentle transformation by that light, by my sight, my lack. My lack transforms men. Tell me, what do you lack? Manques-tu le manque? Manques-tu le manqué? Manques tu les disparues? What has gone? My chest tightens at the thought of loss, and again when it is not lost. I lack nothing in my eyes. Do you perceive, per-see, through-view a lack?

(And in that binary, we missed the white. It’s easy to miss it in the glare, to miss what’s always there. Blank page, chora, womb: that’s red, not white, and if there are no words, how can we read, what is read? White on white, j’écris à l’encre blanche. And if you don’t see that, it’s not my fault. Why should I worry if you don’t realise that something is missing, that you’re missing something, that the lack is yours.)

We’re heading home now. Are you coming home? Home, where there is no lack. Home, without lack. An in a duplicitous leap, we lack the lack. Home lack, home less, and my home diminishes, less and less, homeless, one great semantic leap to the unheimlich. Do you see it now? And can you put a price on it, other homes in this area have sold, sell now, just get in touch. In my house, do you feel the lack, the lack lack? And when it is sold, can you tell me how much it costs, when you have turned my home into cash?

Origin of self

(The difference between 0.4 and 3.5% NaOH)


My pelvis adjusts,

Stones shift,

Press into my feet.

I kick off again.


Molecule rolls over molecule,

Energy transfers,

Move, shift, crash.


Tympanic vibration.

Your waves,

Transport me.


I judder, rebalance, stand,

Feel the salt in my hair,

My mouth.

My eyes sting.


Draw me out,

I should stay.

There’s safety at this edge.


But I let you take me.

And I am in you, not of you,

You don’t need me.

Foreign body, sink or float?


You transform,

I dissolve.


Eosinophils multiply in response as it enters,

Histamines flood in.

A body, a battle ground.

Blood pumps,

Vehicle for oxygen and glucose.

Silent passenger spreads, building strength.


Can we annihilate?


You didn’t know that your bid,

To multiply, came with a secret gift.

You feed, your abdomen gross with my blood.

Protozoa slip.

You’ve gone, eggs already maturing.

Your life is short.

Unknowing, death bringer.


We aim to eradicate.


In bed, I am exposed.

Coil burns, nets hang,

Do drugs make me bullet proof?

One chink suffices,

Your signature inscribed on my skin,

Silent gift that lasts long after the itch.

Blood need united us,

And the cycle, starts again.


You are not the parasite.