Severed – Kate Hendry


Blood has soaked her pyjama top when she appears,
holding out her hand – four-fingered – as if it’s no use
to her now. My instinct’s to save the severed part,
so I hoist her onto my hip and run to the kitchen
where she’s chopped an apple under the spotlights
hidden beneath the cupboard. The rest of the kitchen’s dark.
Outside is dark, with flickers of frost light when the moon
breaks through scurrying clouds. She’s heavy-limbed
and helpless in my arms, but the finger’s there amongst
half-moons of pink-fleshed apple. I swivel from worktop
to freezer, thrust it in with the tubs of raspberries
from the summer, collapse on the lino. She’s still offering me
her hand – half wanting the whole thing gone, half wanting
it fixed. Where is her pain? I’m wrapping her fingers
with crumpled tea towels pulled from the middle drawer
and she’s resting her head against the crook of my arm,
staring at a distant point by the door, as if at the doctors
for her jabs. I’m screaming for help, for someone to phone
for an ambulance, wanting to haul us both into the freezer’s
silver body, to be closer to the finger, the part of her
that’s permanently broken, permanently gone.

Kate Hendry’s poems have been widely published in magazines including The Rialto, The North, Mslexia, Under the Radar, Gutter, and are forthcoming in Poetry Wales and New Welsh Review. Her first pamphlet, The Lost Original, was published by Happenstance Press. @hendrykate

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