Mary Peelen: “Hemicrania”


Highly sensitive to initial conditions,
her narrow hips went frigid, iron-rigid

on the steps behind the swimming pool,
icicles sharpening the tips of her hair

while other girls dispersed into
carpools out across the icy parking lot.

The cement was cold and municipal,
pedestal of the great divide.

The headache would come later,
one-sided, hallucinatory.

Peripheral darkness pressed in at first,
crushing the cold into crystals of air.

Tinnitus rang
concentric haloes of silver and white,

herald of the full ocular eclipse,
bright points of blue stabbing through.

The ceremony was electrical, hormonal.
Fully definitional.

Cerebral fissure: the abyss between
two halves of the brain.

Mary Peelen’s first poetry collection, Quantum Heresies, won the Kithara Book Prize and will be published by Glass Lyre Press in January 2019. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry DailyBeloit Poetry Journal, Antioch Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry Review (UK), and elsewhere.

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