Josie Alford



Glossop Ward

In the hospital bed my father sagged
and bulged in all the wrong places.

He started taking his meds again,
said the nebuliser smelled like French bakeries
so I emptied Waitrose of its pastries.

As he grappled for control, the same old
violence glistened in his face but tired limbs
like broken wings were too fragile to scare.

The next day he changed his T-shirt.
I pulled the blue concertina curtains
and saw my father for the first time:

arms and shoulders bones with skin too big-
but belly and wrists swollen
from lack of trying.

The next day he managed to shower, glowed brighter
and made plans for moving closer,
he promised to call.

He was discharged after I drove home
and it felt like something starting again.



Josie Alford is a poet and event host with Hammer and Tongue Bristol. She fuses the techniques of spoken and written poetry. Her work ranges from the subtle nuance of dealing with loss to referencing pop culture.

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