Because breath is only childhood
the belly of the hospital
the sound of his footsteps on the gravel
outside my bedroom window
approaching the cages
and the endless thirst in me, seizing
my body and rupturing the bones.
I blindly swallowed the days
the way a dog will run until it is lost
and I was never here
the medication, closer to nothingness
than ever being well.
myself, a stranger offering a space
before the open window
my shadow contorting into
the shape of my father.
Robbie Coburn’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Meanjin, Westerly and Island, and his collection The Other Flesh is due to be published this year. He lives in Melbourne.