I enter through the airlock, wearing a blue paper gown, hands still damp. There’s a low window which gapes incredulously at concrete slabs with weeds oozing between them, a bare tree, an after-thought of grass. Beside the window, an armchair designed with discomfort in mind. An NHS poster depicts a smiling nurse, one of whose teeth has been Biro-blacked (I suspect by you). The bed might be the hardest thing to see in your room; it screams of institutions, with its beige metallic frame, the fact that it bends and pivots in all kinds of unexpected ways and seems to have a dozen little leads attached to it. You aren’t allowed flowers, in case the water in the vase stagnates and makes you unwell. This is a little bedsit for your illness, where you will be cooped up for another couple of weeks. At least you can have Fisherman’s Friends; I accept one, even though I hate them. I’m trying so hard to be a good guest.



Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol, where he writes poetry and short fiction. He’s the author of a pamphlet, Communing (Indigo Dreams, 2016) and a full collection, We Are All Lucky (Indigo Dreams, 2018). His next collection, Hi-Viz, will be published in 2020. He blogs and posts mixtapes at