Winter, Hospital Bed

Memory was the room I entered down a long corridor
Thrown by the white drugs of pain though pain
Was adrift on a glassy stream of green tide
Where images flickered and ran on

I didn’t write poetry for publication
In those days but to grab the attention
Of readers nearby who had been crushed by life
Who floated across the exercise yard like headaches

Smoking rag-cigarettes looking sideways
For the next punishment for a break or maybe distraction
Chips of memory kept rising to the surface
Of our minds to take another bite

I had no idea why poetry the squid caught me
It clung to my brain in the damaging climate
A creature in the alien element of air
Arising from centuries of survival

Thoughts must be inky and capable
Of working the bait with a black beak
For a quick kill and a metaphysical rise up through the abyss
Poetry in those days was a handmade lure

There were no fish or birds so I spun my lines
To the ones with heads spring-loaded with resentment
Their temper a red fleck twitching in an eye
While poems of the future waited in line to hear my number

More Poems by Robert Adamson