Veisalgia by Jacob Armstrong

Pyjama-heavy, her limbs complained,
lead weights under the duvet.
Lifting her head was a task: it was reluctant
to dislodge from its dip in worn lumps of polyester.
Her temples ached. Thumbs were being pushed into her temples
twisting like blunt screws.

She didn’t have a headboard, so propped her spine
on the beige behind the bed, like an under the stairs broom.
She felt hollow, a vase full of acid
made of thick glass, like a medicine bottle.
In the window, it was the opposite of dusk;
The transition between night and day seemed less comprehensible to her.
She looked at the alarm clock on the floor by the bed,
twisting her torso to blur the fat red digits.

Downstairs, the letterbox snapped as suited men and women at the despatch;
cracked like a whip on the back of an old beast,
avaricious words disguised in large, friendly print, on envelopes.
She never sent letters any more, only took.
There was no-one to write to, and stamps had gone up
with the rent, and the gas, and breathing.

Movement was expensive. Her joints groaned
like hot water pipes left off too long. Her head
was numb, like a radiator that needed bleeding,
as she went for the letters in the mist of the house.
She was washed out, hung over
though had no memory of excess.