Six months I stayed in Emma’s room
And watched her in the mornings weave
Her long fingers through her fine hair;
Faded violet, gone from a moment of expression
To be confined and to lose its statement.
She laughed like an echo, as if there was no source
Simply the room humming soft edged melody
From the pale walls.
We would sing to eighties music, played badly
On an old wind up radio.
We would sing loudly and without tune, standing on the aged,
Grey chairs that bled their stuffing in sad melancholy,
We would stand on them and dance.
Sometimes sat in the small bath, attempting privacy.
Fully clothed and dry in our ceramic half cocoon
Sharing our stories
And our secrets.
Emma’s room had pale blue walls. Wounded many times over
Through pins and blue-tack; adorned now
With self-drawn pixies.
Little reality was there, in Emma’s room.
I spent six months in Emma’s room.
I lay sometimes, my head on her lap
And we would sit in silence as she
Stroked her long fingers
Through my hair.
Reflecting on the events
That had taken us to this corridor.
She slept fitfully, foetus shaped and huddled
Still rolling, still calling occasionally
From her dark dreams,
From her intrusive memories
That, while awake, she could pretend to ignore.
I spent six months in Emma’s room
Before they took me sixteen times to the basement
And electrocuted me to docility
And she stayed in her room
With her bed on the floor
Because she was so afraid
Of what might lurk beneath.