as if the working of this body
is a religion we must pray towards

            when it breaks the impact is doubled

the pain it draws inside us
& the failure it represents

            the blood you leak over the toilet

the ulcers tearing through your mouth
how do we learn to love the spectre

            that carries us from hour to hour

i run you a bath & cup the water
over your swollen ankles

            your face shattered with light

from the candle that melts down
a crushed sandcastle

            wrapped in a bath towel on the bed

the sun-blushed skin on your heels
between my palms

            & tears drying on your cheek

you draw on the vape pen & drift loose
the body of today breaking apart in the body

            that will carry you through tomorrow

Daniel Sluman is a 34-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He co-edited the first major UK Disability anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, and his second collection the terrible was published by Nine Arches Press in 2015. He has appeared widely in UK poetry journals and he was named one of The Huffington Post’s Top 5 British Poets to Watch in 2015. He is currently writing his third collection of poetry, about living with disability and chronic pain, to be published by Nine Arches Press in 2021. He tweets @danielsluman.

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