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.