Five Senses of Distaste
The sight of liposuction
I felt a voyeur, watching the TV screen:
a middle-aged woman remoulded.
The sluggish stream of glutinous, yellow fat
siphoned through transparent plastic tubing
from love handles, folds of stomach, ample thighs
to an unseen destination.
The sound of breaking bone
It’s somewhere between the snap underfoot
of a eucalyptus branch on a walking track
and the softer note of an eggshell cracked
lightly on the rim of a bowl. Then silence
as the forearm swings free of the elbow,
as the world spins and falls.
The touch of a toxic caress
A jellyfish brushes gently against my leg.
Pain sears, intensifies, and I must swim to shore
through shoals of silent storm troopers
swaying beneath the surface, waiting to nuzzle
my neck, face, shoulders, thrashing limbs.
The taste of raw reality
Greek delicacy. Tilt back your head and suck.
I did as the fisherman commanded,
put my lips to the sea-urchin’s mouth
and drew in deeply, expecting sweet sensations
from this languid, beautiful ball.
Not the rancid slime that made me retch.
Run and rinse, sluice with sand,
scrape clean the coated palate, tongue, teeth.
Nothing would erase that rotting foulness –
not Ouzo, strong cheeses, vinegar, peppermint –
The smell of death
Once sampled, you’re in its grip.
The sweet-n-sour presence
clings to memory
long after the scent has left
the space around the bed,
the sterile walls of the ward.
Other poems by Liz McQuilkin