I was six
when I shifted a curtain
in a dark room
at the waxwork museum
and peered through glass
at a woman

I remember
hooks and chains
her tattered skirts
pale lips
crimson stains

I thought of her
first time I lifted
black tarpaulin
exposed a sallow man
his wrinkled skin
puckered face
closed eyes
all of him sweated formalin

I remember the incision
that opening up
his bloodless vessels
inert nerves
those Latin names
I never remembered.



Gwen Sayers wasย nominated for the Forward Prize, shortlisted in the Flambard Poetry Prize and highly commended in Sonnet or Not Competition. Her poetry appears in Tears in the Fence, Under the Radar, Unbroken, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, Shooter, and Allegro.