Recovery Room

by Wes Lee

 

When I returned, I was different. I was cold all the time,
wore wool against my skin. The shock of it

stayed with me into summer. I could not leave
the two-bar heater; the layers piled on.

Some fear came up with me into the recovery room,
where my teeth chattered and the nurses hurried

to find a blanket of foil – leaned in to monitor my eyes.
I think I left something no lost-and-found can

contain under a desk, or behind a locked door
where no mouth can ask for a red umbrella

or gaily checked scarf. I wandered around in hats
and long velvet skirts – black to keep the heat.

I bundled up and my doctor said, ‘You’re so thin,
there’s nothing of you.’ And he said later,

‘They’ll put you in a ward and shock you.’
And that shocked me.

And later I saw him driving a yellow Volkswagen,
top down, with children in the back licking ice-creams.

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WES LEE

Raised in a working-class household in Northern England, Wes Lee now lives in New Zealand. She has two collections of poetry: Shooting Gallery (Steele Roberts, 2016), and a pamphlet Body, Remember (Eyewear Publishing, 2017). Her work has appeared in The Stinging Fly, Banshee, New Writing Scotland, The London Magazine, Poetry London, Magma Poetry, Poetry New Zealand among others. Most recently she was selected by American poet Eileen Myles as a finalist for The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2018, and awarded the Poetry New Zealand Prize 2019 by Massey University Press.