When current jolts muscle
my fingers contract. She turns a dial,
asks me to relax, apologises at my first ‘ow’
the hand, a claw, pincered by voltage.
Electrodes shift to the back of my knee.
I talk to distract myself, say ‘I used to work here’,
mention I came via the Windsor building, down the corridor
from A&E, past where coronary care once was.
She runs a pulse through my calf, notes
the marionette response, tags flesh
above the achilles to flex the foot. I think of frog’s legs,
feel a little sick, remember how the lift
froze between floors, how the man on the trolley
arrested again. Suspended in a metal box, we shocked him
twice, took turns to work his heart, ten minutes gone
before we lurched up the shaft.
Roy Marshall’s poems have been published in magazines including Ambit, Magma, The Rialto, Poetry Wales and The North. His collection The Sun Bathers (Shoestring, 2013) was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy award. Roy has previously worked as a coronary care nurse. He lives in Leicestershire where he now works in adult education.