the long night presses over my hands
                                    at the sink

            bowls clatter under water

& the brittle light from the stars
            burns through the darkness

                        a ketchup-smear coagulates
                                    & splits off the saucepan

down the drain-hole’s milky eye

            when the pain in my sacrum uncoils
                                    & stretches

                        i surrender rather than fight
                                    to slip each sensation

the crickets singing their first song of summer

            until the pain condenses
                        to a bearable thud

the handle of the bread knife turns
            familiar in my palm

                        my absent-mind pulling me
            from the darkening whirl of matter in the bowl

                        towards the glittering vastness beyond it

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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