Monday, 16 April 2018

A poem by Paul McDonald

Three Oncologists

(After the painting by Ken Currie)

I stumble on the trio,
eerie masterminds of cancer,
performing in the space
where cells mutate,
proliferate like fungi in the night.
Each brings his own abnormal light,
spectral in the theatre of fear.

Surgeons called to arms,
they rise from the unconscious
like sprites trailing photons
through the dark.
They’ve been to work:
observe the bloodied gloves,
autoclaved utensils of dismemberment,

faces talced with doubt.
They hear my pulse beating
in the stalls, turn as one,
surprised by my spectatorship:
mortals shouldn’t witness such a show.
I stumbled on the trio,
now tremble as I watch them glow.

Paul McDonald is Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of several novels, critical books, and has poetry collections with Flarestack, Cinnamon Press, and Indigo Dreams Press. His poems and stories have won prizes and been shortlisted in numerous competitions including the Ottakars/Faber and Faber Poetry Competition, The John Clare Poetry Prize, The Sentinel Prize, Bedford International Writing Competition, the Retreat West Flash Fiction Prize, and the Bridport Prize.

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