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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Temporary stay

Tactless poppies, there were, on the bed curtains in the ward.
At least, here, I thought, the walls are yellow-daisied
and a fresh vase of healthy freesias hopes on the windowsill.
One needs a sliver of joy when ninety-three and nomadic.

I thought of home: my flat and its three steps up
that hadn’t yet been assessed for Health and Safety;
its cooker with the knob dodgy since nineteen ninety-six;
and the TV I don’t remember turning off before I fell.

‘I hope you’ll be comfortable,’ she said, pointing to the basin.
‘Can I not sleep in the bed?’ I said. It took a while;
no one expects the recently-cancerous to lob in a laugh.
Her smile was nervous, as though she were the stranger.

I sat on the bed, polite while she blubbed about her own pains:
the shitty husband, payday loans, grandkids in New Zealand.
‘I hope they’re paying you well,’ I said, ‘for hosting a near-corpse,
rotting under your pink eiderdown and sloughing onto feather pillows.’

She laughed. Her face cracked like my cancerous hip last February,
unusual activity resulting in a surprise separation, an ‘oh’ of the lips.

© Fran Hill

NHS Airbnb-style scheme 'not ruled out' by minister

Fran Hill is a writer and English teacher based in Warwickshire, UK.


  1. An excellent vision of what could be care-on-the-cheap.
    I wonder if you have read this: http://theconversation.com/carerooms-initiative-is-another-assault-on-domestic-labour-86571
    Anna :o]

    1. Thank you! And for the link to the article.

  2. Love this, Fran, especially the last two lines, both bleak and strangely hopeful - a connection. I had missed the story - another good reason to keep up with Poetry24!