The tick, the itch.

Like the tick of a clock

Then the following itch.

Resemblance was dignified.

Couldn’t miss it,

Even if you tried to.

There was no escape.

The skin seared,

A flickering,

Snakes and slugs crawling

Out of reach from your

Broken fingertips.

If you scratched enough,

It ceases,

But only a moment.

Then it would be back,

Full-blown force

Distinguished from the other feelings of

Your body.

Hair bulged in pores,

Pressing on the surface

To be released,

Only the slow metamorphose

Could relieve the pressure.

It beat upon the blood streams,

Insanely unnerving migraine,

Compelling you to lie still and

Do nothing.

Nothing but scratch

Flaking, clotted blood,

Stuck under the nails.

It pierced the skin.

Wounds appeared

Where wounds

Had not been

Moments ago.

The smell dug

Into nostrils.

Old cow.

Dead pig.

Wet dog.

Heavy and sultry,

The smell of rain

And moist soil.

But also blood.

The stench was inconceivable,

All-time present

Reminder of what was happening.

Mud and blood

Mingled with gun-powder,

Sulphur poured into the

Open cracks


The water-supply of the body.

Veins turned ashen

Blue and black,

Stalled old pipes.

Barbed-wire cut lesions

As deep as trenches

Surrounding you,

Pouring out puss of

Inflamed holes.

The tick, the itch.



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