A poem by Anna Saunders
The Emergency Call
Are you in pain? Is your heart racing?
Do you see stars?
Are you experiencing shallow breath
as if startled? Are you panting as if you were walking home
and sensed something in your trail?
Are you breathing the quick, short breaths of someone who has either
a - held the air in their lungs for too long - scared of losing it
b - been afraid to gulp in the ether in case it were contaminated
with fumes, broken promises, threats, or seductive words?
Do you feel dizzy?
Is your head rotating like someone who has been used as a top,
a toy, or as a bottle spun to trigger a kiss?
Are the crystals between your ears misaligned and reeling?
Are you experiencing disequilibrium
as if you were on one foot, on the edge of a cliff or a sky scraper
with the wild sea, or the barbarous city below,
crashing, crystalline, roaring from its depths?
Are you feeling wings beat in your solar plexis?
Are you forgetting people’s names, do you know what day it is?
Are you disorientated, struggling to find meaning?
Do you find it hard to get warm, even in a hot bath?
Do you ache to be held? Do you sometimes fashion a pair of arms
from your pillows? Do you curl up foetal in sleep?
Does divinity escape you? Does god seem out of reach?
Would it be like catching steam in your hands to experience the sublime?
Does your head throb?
Do you feel as if you have been hit hard over the head with a brick?
Where else does it hurt?
One of the questions when you ring 111 is ‘ do you have a headache? Does it feel
as if you had been hit over the head with a brick’.
Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox ( Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners ( Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018).
Anna has had poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eyeflash, and The Museum of Light.
Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Fetival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.