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A Bed of NailsHugo Williams
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Vol. 41 No. 7 · 4 April 2019
Poem

A Bed of Nails

Hugo Williams

192 words

Days move diagonally across town,
meet other days
travelling in the opposite direction.
Let off the leash,
I was roaming the streets after dark,
looking for a thread
among neon petals
splashing in gutters,

when the screech of brakes
heralded my destruction.
How kind of someone, I thought,
to consider de-accelerating
on my behalf, no matter
that the gesture came too late
to save my life.
The moment of truth

took me by the scruff of the neck
and hurled me through
a plate glass window made of ice.
I shot down the face
of a glassy curve
and came to rest where I am,
in a crazy place, in a bloody experience.
Danger, fear, rage,

the onset of extreme emotion
resulted in a message
being flashed down my nervous system
to two tiny glands,
one on each kidney,
which went into high speed action
pumping a charge of fear
into my bloodstream. Late,

almost too late at night,
I found myself barely alive
on a bed of nails.
I burst from the wreckage
with a blinding shock
of hips and hair and shoulder-blades,
streaming green light
because of something I thought.

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