The Angel’s Missing Wings
Standing at the edge of the pumped-up bed
she puts her fists into his back gently
but firmly, working the muscles.
She opposes them with deep down pushes,
waiting for the creak and scringe of ligament and bone,
feeling a way into his injury, his scarred layout.
Sounds of crackling and popping like bubble-wrap
drift with disembodied conversation.
‘When the pain eases, tell me,’ as thumbs
quest into knobbles, the central roots of a spine.
‘Yep,’ means a stronger digging in, a longer track
back to the feeling of no-pain, when the nerves
quiet to a hum lower than cars shushing by,
on the wet road outside the window. Sitting up,
he sees a chart plotting the nerves of the body,
a lattice shawled across shoulders; bright yellow
rivulets that trickle into streams threading down
the ruby, skinless torso. Even physiotherapists
like classical poses.