Feel, if you can, the agony…

by Lyndsay Coo

Feel, if you can, the agony

of Daphne:

each cell in your body

(and these,

they are countless)

 

stiffens

buds a vacuole.

 

This feels

like an all-over choking,

 

this feels

like the love

of a boa.

 

Then your toenails

thicken to root,

 

burst

from your skin

 

race

into topsoil.

 

You feel

the bump and the scrape

of every rock all the long way down.

 

This hurts.

Legs fuse to a trunk,

 

heavy bark screaming

outwards

 

itching,

sprinting upwards

 

over legs, hips, sex, chest, neck…

 

with a warm gasp

a breathless sigh

 

closing over your head,

a barky straitjacket

 

(for if you were not mad before,

you are now).

 

This is metamorphosis.

Your head nods in the breeze,

blood thins to sap.

Sprout a whisper of leaves,

heart rattles

like an abacus.