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At seventeen, I took a pill
with my face on it
then blacked out
before waking
at an altar dressed in white
beside a woman
the priest referred to
as ‘First Wife’ but
my mum seemed happy so
I drank the champagne
before waking
in a hot tub, flecked
with petals like floating
clots and noticed
I was wrist-deep
in a colleague. “Where’s
my wife?” I asked
after she’d come
but she looked strangely
hurt and didn’t say.
My socks were in her drawers,
balled up like puppet fists
so, for years
I was imprisoned in that flat,
just padding to the freezer
for ice cream
until her waters broke
and I slipped on the puddle
before waking
in a vintage cottage.
Scanning photos
on the fridge, I gleaned clues
of my travels. Disneyland.
Rome. Third wife
wept in bed all day,
propped on flowery pillows,
her brow mantled with blood
like a Victorian Strong Man
straining to lift a boulder
and when I finally said,
“Is it something I’ve done?”
she stared with such
contemptuous bafflement
I never asked again
till we were old and grey
and I fell off a ladder
before waking, hunched
at a desk, scribbling
exclamation marks
into a fat leather diary:
Jan 1st: Change your life!
Jan 2nd: Watch out
for that falling chandelier!

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