Longlisted Poem 2011

Anne-Marie Mongan

St Michael’s Grammar School, Co. Armagh


I trace your lifeline with my fingertips,
follow the heart monitor’s spikes and dips,
try to understand the fluctuations.
Your hands, white like December sky,
tangle in sterile sheets and I wonder
if you are fumbling for life as it slips

into nights spent searching for the traces
of yourself that you left in the spaces
between bare lights, hanging on to heartstrings
too painful to unravel because they are
as twisted together as two gold chains
that have spent decades in the same places.

Time is measured in heartbeats and Styrofoam
cups of tea, carried by people who roam
cold corridors, half-existent, counting
each frigid breath as it hangs suspended
in the darkness like the ghost of a thought
of contentment faded like wallpaper in a home

that seems alien after days confined
to identical white rooms.  The sunshine,
climbing through half-drawn blinds, draws cell bars
on your skin while the heart monitor counts
beats like a broken metronome.  I can’t help
but think; is simplicity a straight line?
© Anne-Marie Mongan

Project Details

  • Date January 17, 2015
  • Tags 2011 Simplicity - Longlisted Poems