That night, with thirty-nine degrees stoking my brain,
I heard a seagull in the dialysis machine opposite –
it cried to be released, over and over.
Salt sweat on my lips, the breeze from the window
and that aching call. I was crawling along a beach
chewing pebbles, sand-sore knees,
not looking up to see the gull twisting free into wounded air.
The drip in my arm ticked, telling me I was in Mexico
unearthing a piñata amongst the washed up bottles,
uncoiling ropes – the clownfish piñata I made five years ago.
Digging it out of my memory with a bright red spade.
Black and orange fish. Nemo. Feel the strength of paper-mâché,
how hard it is to break. And all the while that damn gull squawking
as I dragged myself up to a plastic lounger with a plastic pillow,
tide-drenched. And here another syringe of penicillin –
slight sting – then, cool as a cocktail, Tequila Sunrise in my vein.

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