Thursday, 1 February 2018

A poem by Caroline Hardaker

Respirators


We're tied into carrying clusters of plants with us
at all times, like respirators, or portable dialysis machines.
'It's your civic duty', 'fulfil your O2 quota',
'here's your weekly batch of filtered water'

and with each new birthday a fresh crate of Boston ferns.
We rock around the streets like medieval milk maids
staying clear of other people lest we bruise a root
or drop a leaf. It’s always a relief to reach home unscathed.

I received a spotted tiger lily last year, and a rare orchid
which I promptly over-watered, so my left lung was aborted
the following month. Confiscated organs are fed
through the composter, crafting a softer bed
for the greenest breathers to blossom in and breed further.
Now I receive half the ferns I did before, and breathe shallowly,
hardly tasting the hard-earned air at all.







Caroline Hardaker lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with her husband, a giant cat, a betta fish with attitude, and a forest of houseplants. Her poetry has been published widely, most recently or forthcoming by Magma, The Emma Press, Neon, and Shoreline of Infinity. She is a guest editor for Three Drops Press, and the in-house blogger for Mud Press. Her debut chapbook 'Bone Ovation' was published by Valley Press in October 2017.

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