Reader Submissions

Well-Known Corners of the People


Valencia Long

Let us not mistake the hospital for a home 

Outside, the alarms go off, an emptied pump, a disconnected plug 

Be careful, head sister says - these doors are heavy

perhaps four times your weight, for you were 

the gush of wind, a kind of flippancy 

before four hundred pounds of metal preserves yet again negative pressured air 

You laugh, rearrange your iPad, a stuffed monkey

You put them away because I have come as an intruder, uninvited; 

I flush your PICC - it is the third time 

The music box bleats a well-wound tune 

I ask if you are alright; you joked that the next time I should bring tea 

We watch a video on your iPad, but I really only have four minutes to spare.


Days later, I come to draw your cultures 

You smile, blood trickling down your nose- the air is heavier these days, you say 

your stuffed monkey sits quietly

you tell me to find a good vein, for by now:

I have memorised them like the back of my hand 

I leave the room- wind in my chest


When you left, you left like a gush of wind 

Flippant, with an unbearable lightness 

I revisit your room again and again, in memory, 

your stuffed monkey, iPad, videos 

Only your music box bleats a tune, as familiar as home. 

© University of Canberra | Poetry on the Move 2020
Poetry on the Move is a major initiative of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research in the Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra.

The University of Canberra acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, traditional custodians of the lands where Bruce Campus is situated. 

We pay our respects to all Ngunnawal elders - past, present, and future - and to their continuing culture.