The First Night

by Rachel Gough


You pause at the soft fissure

Your eyes meet mine

Are you asking my permission?

Or are you sympathising?

Because the dark place at my centre is altogether too much like a wound.

I want to tell you that it doesn't hurt.

But I don't know how.

Keats used to restrain his patients upon a table.

Let the gentle doctor slice you from navel to nape.

This is what healing feels like.

“No it doesn’t hurt.

As long as you do that it doesn't hurt.”