in st mary’s hospital, manchester

in a book somewhere©papa osmubal

in a book somewhere©papa osmubal

in st mary’s hospital, manchester
yao feng

From white-coloured blankets, you hold out one hand to me
slender, withered, red nails painted with Cutex
like plum blossom, dazzling winter’s branchings
These nails, these flowers – trimmed again and again by you
again and again to let their fury bloom

They stand at your life’s boundary with body
but always so clean, so astounding
even here in this
national hospital chaotic as the nation itself

Firm grip on your hand, I feel the tawny blood-veins bulge
Blood squirms, turning back from scarlet fingertips
You wrote in a book somewhere: in death’s fleshly body
the last thing of all of us to rot is our nails

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