ocean beach road


prognosis                                    my sister screams      my sister screams and screams and it’s
                                                     like she’ll never stop screaming

abiosis                                         a startled quail flies into the closed window    slowly stops
                                                     breathing in the airing cupboard

metamorphosis                          my sister goes missing from school      we find her in the
                                                     shoe shop

symbiosis                                    my parents look for answers in the library

osmosis                                       sorrow rises from under the floorboards      even the walls
                                                     are weeping

necrosis                                       a disembodied rabbit on the carpet      its little ears and tail

mucopolysaccharidosis             my sister forgets how to draw a triangle       how to read

meiosis                                        in the middle of it all a (not quite) baby dies

zoochosis                                    the chicken’s back has been pecked so hard, it’s bleeding

diagnosis                                    even if we’d understood the signs we wouldn’t have been
                                                     ready     a long slow storm

anabiosis                                     I look in my sister’s eyes for the flame     I don’t stop


Janis Freegard’s latest poetry collection is Reading the Signs (The Cuba Press). Her novel, The Year of Falling (Mākaro Press), was recently translated into Bulgarian