i am he shouted
as an emergency tourniquet
to his severed identity

you are i agreed

am i on the floor yet
he called falling backwards
spinning out of control

there is no floor i said
only space

he floated then
his umbilicus a distortion of air
tethered to primordial rock

i am right and i belong
he chanted repeatedly
seeking relief in metronomic effect

there is no sound in space
i said you must take the rhythm
from your foot-steps on earth

he closed his eyes
curled up like a foetus

when was your first haemorrhage i asked
at birth he said i wasn’t born
i bled from the womb
yet you survive
i reminded him

can you stop the bleeding he asked

i can assist your suicide i said
if that’s what you want

it’s not he said there is an angry man in me who tries
but a compassionate woman who calms him
i bleed when they argue

then i said you must become their counsellor

are you the woman in my head he asked
maybe i said there could be woman in all of us
do you feel like a woman
i asked

i don’t know he said
i want to love a woman
what does that make me

i mussed his hair
it doesn’t matter i said
you’re probably everything

it was mid-afternoon
the streets were empty
we were in a sleeping bag
on the floor of a bed-sit

i’m not he said tentatively
ready to yield to the swoosh of blood
but i’m more woman than man
when i think

i vanished then leaving him undecided and alone
trusting he would walk eventually
sit in the park and enjoy the sun
look for answers
write this when he found them




Selected byJenn Zed
Image credit:Alex Iby

Cameron McClure doesn’t exist. He is the pen-name for a  permanently retired civil servant who lives in Northern Ireland and likes nothing better than competitive banter over a pint or two. He believes it will all come right on the night because he’s happier that way and no-one has yet proved him wrong though a lot of well-meaning people try to for some reason.