An electromagnetic field has painted a picture
of someone’s lungs. That much I understand.
I look past ribs, sepia sad-clowned mouths,
to an eddy of dust rising. Guernica. If I turn
my head one way it grows into a forest, shrinking
mutilated silver into inky night: tilt left, it is a
cathedral ceiling, my panic cold, echoing
in this unfamiliar vault, while I search, search
search for each hymned black mottle: I want to call
out, but the name shrinks inside a line inside a word
inside a letter. Try again: I position posteronanterior
and lateral like old fools, Hamm and Clov, fixing
their drooping shoulders into a stiff smile. I squint
for a clue of composition, waiting for them to whisper
a story about what they are hiding, clusters of cells
drawn in invisible ink. I have been standing here too
long, asking this lunged Meryon to tell me what it
means. Behind me, branches groan with patients’ lists,
waiting for their trial, calling, calling, always calling
my name, like a prayer.
Cancer x-ray services under review after serious failures [Guardian]
Portsmouth hospital missed lung cancer cases [BBC]
Olga Dermott-Bond is originally from Northern Ireland and lives in England. A former Warwick Poet Laureate, she has had work published in a range of publications including Dodging the Rain, Rattle Magazine and Paper Swans Press. This year she was longlisted in The Poetry Society’s Primers publishing prize, commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize, and won the Forward/Emag creative-critical competition. She is a teacher and a member of Writing West Midland’s Room 204.