… I latched onto the word,
gentle, realising we wanted gentle truth
‘Therapy’ by Mairi Murphy
Originally published by Read Raw Press
The only time I ever saw my sister
rattled: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
that was one scary woman!” she said
as we left the office of the Hungarian
doctor, whose version of truth was
so brutal, it was bone marrow aching.
And we made faces every time she
passed, having a laugh, whispering
behind her back, a teacher that we didn’t
like, talking trivia and Lorraine Kelly over
our books, as we renovated our houses, saw
coats we wanted to buy, escaped for lunch.
Yet the nurse said, “This is a gentle form of
treatment,” and I latched onto the word,
gentle, realising we wanted gentle truth:
dripping slow, dripped into my sister, gently.
Curative truth, restorative truth, not the
“I’m so honest you won’t have to sue,” truth.
And as for telling the truth, that’s fourteen
years away, releasing the words my frightened
jaw won’t say, on some unsuspecting poetry class.
Emerging from the shadowlands, this toxic cloud,
will peacefully dissipate, lose its power to dominate,
allow my sister and I laughter in some future tense.
Mairi Murphy graduated last autumn from Glasgow University with a Masters in Creative Writing. Whilst there she was awarded the 2016 Alistair Buchan Prize for poetry for which two of her poems were also shortlisted. Recently her poems have been published in ‘Shetland Create’, ‘From Glasgow to Saturn’ and ‘Crooked Holster (an anthology of crime). She is the editor of ‘Glasgow Women Poets’ published by Four-em Press in 2016, of which she is the co-founder.