You had three nosebleeds today, all
of them highly satisfying, each equally
lovely. The free-falling drop of claret
that lands on your newspaper
at the junction of 21 down and 29
across is such a lovely surprise.
You like to look at the patterns that
the blood paints onto the tissue as if they
were Rorschach inkblots. Bloodblots.
You say what you see because nobody
is beside you to take notes or worry
about what you say that you see (wasps,
exploding grenade, rotten apples,
the Wisła when it flooded, an amphitheatre).
The deciphering of the blots, the eventual stop
as the blood clots. It is so polite of your body
to choose that moment to remind you that
you are alive, when you yourself have
forgotten or weren’t entirely convinced.
You roll the tissue between your palms,
moulding the evidence of your existence
into a neat ball, launching it directly
into the bin in the corner, and it lands softly,
a lovely, clean shot. You wipe your nose
with the back of your hand, drag the nib
of the pencil through the blood and now
the answer to 21 down libel is written
in red. Snap your head back, set your neck
and dangle your hair over the top edge
of the chair. The taste of rust
as the plasma collects in the crook
of your throat is 29 across:
the clue is ‘pleasant, delightful,’
the answer is lovely.
Poem taken from History of Present Complaint by HLR, reprinted by A Thin Slice of Anxiety (Sept 2021). Get a copy of History of Present Complaint here.