You crawled up my sleeping nose
or down an exposed ear at night,
where the duvet wasn’t tucked in
right. Or you sneaked stealthy with
a blink and a loose eyelash,
only a small irritation, to start with.
Only a little niggle, a little tickle in
the sinuses, a mumble in the gums
that might mean oncoming toothache.
But might not. Might not. Yet.
You settle in, comfy, kick off your
shoes, make yourself at home,
crack a beer. You channel-surf my
brain, play me at memory games,
scoring points. You turn on
my tear ducts in the street and make
my nose bleed unexpectedly at work.
Sometimes you go easy for a while:
just a tension headache, just a poke
in the back of the eye
like a knitting needle. Other days
it’s migraine-electric shocks. And
digging up the deepest burial grounds
with a sharpened spade, grubbing up
the rotting sickened things best left.
You give me special new gifts too.
Dropping them in with knives and spit,
you switch on the cement mixer.
Those days you are a tumour.