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Closure; Examination by Tamiko Dooley



When I return from my year abroad 

you suggest we take a stroll 

along the Isis river

behind Christ Church meadows

where the deer walk quietly. 


I hadn’t heard that there was someone new -

as each twig cracks under my boots 

I think we are walking closer to each other. 


Instead, you tell me about her

and we move in parallel, 

like the punts gliding on the water,

or the grasses that overgrow on the riverbank marshes.


A branch hangs low, and I duck - 

your arm doesn’t reach out to protect me

as it used to.


The first time we brought a picnic to this spot 

we were hopeful as the daffodils that sprung up in the grass,

surrounding us in a golden halo.


Now our eyes keep to the woodland floor

scattered with dead leaves and broken bits of trees.


As the day comes to an end and we trudge back to college,

mice dart into darkened burrows

and a smell of faraway bonfires lingers in the air. 


Q: Define “horror”

A: you lie down on the blue paper, legs apart, and it starts THE MOMENT the nurse inserts the speculum and you spend the whole time APOLOGISING as she whispers in alarm there is a lot of blood

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