Runner-up: Sharing bodies

Sharing bodies

I am watching my husband write again-
he is dead but he is writing,
flesh morphing from grey to warm
as capillaries pulse new life back in.

His finger prints live on,
phantom limb revived
in a surgery séance
for the patchwork man
Mary Shelley predicted,
but this is not monstrous.
More the delicious agony
of a last letter arriving
a month after he went,
or a backdated cheque
unburdening as his flesh
is accepted, converted
into a new currency-
integrating your gestures.

Maybe you will find yourself
strumming air,
writing with his curve,
or punching the sky
when the other team wins
or developing a taste
for biting nails again-
as if ingesting him
will make him yours.

My husband never learnt
to type fast, and I worry
your new right hand man
will slow you down-
and will be found
clenching drift wood in meetings
longing to whittle
when he should be carving contracts.

You will have to train my husband’s hand.
You flex him, you reach out to take mine
and for a moment we are back at the bed
where he faded away.

They say that the boundary line
between his flesh and yours will blur
and I wonder if his mottles will hold.
If the black hair dusting his fingers
will tinge into chestnut over time-
if in a year, I won’t see
my husbands’ hand in yours.

We are sharing bodies
trading parts for our conscience
for legacy
to keep the human jigsaw


Laila Sumpton

November 2015

Previous work

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