What You Call Your ‘Winter Mode’ by Patri Wright


On the wicker chair I wait for the duvet’s rise:
you’re just a mound, breath,
as I worry over why, again, you’ve overslept.
Could it be early effects of menopause?
—-Mid afternoon again,
Sunday shrieks of five-a-side across the park;
your shade’s rise and fall, minus it seems the astral part;
through the newsfeed tingle on your phone,
morning show, radio — one that never sleeps —
my stifled pant from up the grove.
—-No alarm, just Diazepam,
as you turn to expose the mole under your eye,
‘tear of a Pierrot’, ‘wrist scars’ of which you joke.
Do I laugh? No
—-you’ve made a sickroom for us both,
made a sickroom of us both
(or what you call your ‘winter mode’);
made the day’s camera roll, unsaved to Skydrive or Cloud …
—-as I think of the base of your back, sacroiliac,
your broken ballet dancer toe, your ‘womb pain’;
I think of your blood, your bowel, your mother
‘like this her age’, juggling Naproxen and Co-codamol …
I think of your liver, think of your organs, think
still of your brain in its skull as you sleep;
I think of your sunken eye sockets,
the flight of your face in dream.


Patri Wright has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and poems from his pamphlet Nullaby have been published in several magazines, most recently Agenda, Poetry Quarterly and Iota. He teaches Creative Writing at the Open University.