Maggie Mackay






First your new minted sister, limp,

limp still in her adult skin,

simple sugars-less

run through by red ragged fibres.


Arrowheads of mitochondria,

auburn as her river of hair,

dipped in defects, pierce,

pin her down through the frame of her stand.


Two decades later, your boy-man brother

thunderbolt-flat, cuts Mum’s clothes to ribbons,

hovers his claw hand on your dinner plate.


Charmed and firstborn perfect, you free-fall

on weekend thermals, fracture a leg,

twist a knee, dislocate an arm, in turn.


Organelles flood

glucose to your brain as you inhale, exhale

Earth’s atmosphere, three times over.



Maggie Mackay has published in Sea of Ink and Fields of Words  (, in All Write Then’s anthology Still Me…( ) and in the online magazines, Poetry Scotland, Word Bohemia, Ink, Sweat & Tears and The Lake. She is currently studying for a Masters in Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Note: MELAS : Mitochondria, Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis and Stroke-Like episodes is a rare inherited and progressive disorder

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