I’ve been scrubbed clean. They’ve sterilized my brain
and peeled back my skin so they could reach
the arteries, capillaries – my veins
are filled with cleaning products. Lysol, bleach
are circulating to and from my heart.
An antiseptic glow, fluorescent lights
iluminate my lungs – two shopping carts,
the left one slightly larger than the right.
I’ve swallowed dimes. In my stomach they see
safety pins and rings. I’m put on display
while the X-ray machine makes love to me.
They will not be sending me home today,
not while I’m stinking of chlorine. No, not
while admission is charged at my hospital cot.
Elizabeth Fortune has lived a very strange life. From grungy park hippy to troubled call centre employee, she has been scribbling out her life since her first psychiatric hospitalization. 30 years later she’s still writing visceral pieces that have a way of getting under the skin.