Title: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

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Sport 40: 2012

Frankie McMillan

page 388

Frankie McMillan

1925 Henry Soutter does the unthinkable

There are no straight lines in the human body
even when the heart is wrung out to dry

there will be other routes—journeys
ia small balloon through

the artery of a leg or the underside
of a thigh, here people walking past

look into my window as if they might see
my surgeon’s hands at work, the whiff

of wrongdoing, a pig’s heart sewn inside
an empty chamber, an opening

in the atrium where once I carefully poked
my finger in order to palpate

the heart valve of a woman
laid bare before me on the gurney

no harm done though once she was
stitched my colleagues

scattered like geese
throughout the hospital wards

Outside I touched earth, called upon it as witness
I too, am learning to heal myself

Note: Soutter was not permitted to do this pioneer operation again.

page 389

In the corner of my mind, a boy

This morning watching people in the street
I remembered the book I’d forgotten to write—

The Boy Who Lived In A Wardrobe
which I promptly changed to

The Boy in the Wardrobe, this meant
it could be flash fiction as living implies

a day’s activities which in the case of the boy
would normally be kicking a ball

around the overgrown tennis court, or finding
a lost bird in the hedge

then there is the business of eating, licking fingers
washing and scrubbed knees all of which

are impractical in the dim wardrobe smelling
of furs and the indecision of shoes

and though I can present the child however
I wish a chance encounter might be best

say, a glimpse through a key hole
to where a small boy sits

playing with his fingers in what would be
my parent’s wardrobe, the cotton dresses

falling on his shoulders
my father’s trousers a stack of chimneys

which brings me back to the parade of people—
how they walk towards deeds

they never knew they had within them