The C-Word

After taking a bite
out of my grandmother’s nose,
it withdrew from my close circle.
It punctured other spheres.
Like a frenzied spray of bullets,
its spoilt teeth
obscene feasts.
And then it reappeared,
scampering up the spine of a friend.
It waited. Hope stirred.
Miracle-dreaming spirits survived on anomalies,
it lunged at the marrow.
She met its cold-blooded stare.
She did not look away,
when – bone by bone – it dragged her in.

Now, it circles above our house,
a miasma draped over our heads.
Out of four, it should want one of us.
The tap’s venom-drip trickles into my ear.
Pipes scream. Its viscous soup of cells spills
from the gutters. I picture it. Dead hair dangles from black lips.
It helps itself to my barbecued lungs,
                                                                  or worse – eats whole my grieving

Sam Langworth studies Creative Writing at Birkbeck University, where he has received invaluable teaching and guidance from Liane Strauss and Anthony Joseph. He has work forthcoming in Ink, Sweat & Tears.

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