Two poems by Charlotte Cosgrove

The Cold Catching Competition

I did not catch this cold.

You didn’t hurl it towards me like a rugby ball,

Arms reflexive as it thundered closer.

We lay in bed two nights ago, you fell asleep

First. I heard the soft pop of your mouth

Like beer opening.

Your breathing quietly roared for hours.

It saw me. Spirited its way over -

Wraith-like. Caressed my ears, nose and

Throat. When the morning came

We shared the burden -

Flaming heads, dithering feet.

Epidural Legs

Sometimes I try to recreate feelings -

Play director to myself.

I lay down as straight as I can on the bed and pretend

I can’t move my legs.

From the waste down there’s nothing

Just two dead trunks in front of me

Like painted white pipes.

I remember two women came in and gave me

What I can only describe as a bed bath.

They hoisted me upwards, lifted one leg

At a time, one arm at a time.

Wiped the sweat from my face,

The blood from my body.

I, a life sized doll.

Someone came in with toast -

Slices as thick as bricks,

With butter that dripped on my dirty nightdress.