News by Amy Neilson Smith

in Poetry


Local weather reports an ensuing cyclonic storm;

strong winds weighed down unsettled conditions,

high temperatures set to drop. Studies showed

I was unable to cope at school, due to the current climate.

Evidence suggests it was a mistake for my headmistress

(Mrs T) to prevent me going home after ringing for news

from the payphone in the corridor. Medical experts

had already informed my mother of her final diagnosis, earlier

that day. Evidence suggests I didn’t give a flying fig what my

teachers told me. Linguists approximate my Brighton accent

and highly volatile state may have made that sound like I said

something else. CCTV footage captured my escape, accurately.

Linguists suggest Mrs T wasn’t aware, they are fluent in sarcasm.

Local weather updates: extended outlook for the next three

to five days would include extensive facial precipitation,

broken cirrus skies, and the prevailing winds were likely

to, and did bring, a silent tempest into No.18 Elizabeth Close.

Medical experts/Head of Gynaecology scheduled her

hysterectomy immediately. I had the first taste of the threat of immense

loss – one expert claimed. An unnamed source let me smoke

in the garden, for that period, after Dad had gone to bed.

Local weather on my first visit was boiling; my single steps

echoing in the plastic corridors leading to Mum’s ward. Reports

suggest Dad just couldn’t face it. Rumour has it my brother

was at school. Humidity levels in the unit were high on tepid urine;

evaporation from near to, and around the claustrophobic

collective of full or partly leaking catheter bags and drainage

tubes. University studies say there are too few nurses. No

shit Sherlock, evidence suggests. I forgot how to breathe and

suffered a vasovagal syncope, causing a sudden drop in my heart

rate and blood pressure, resulting in temporary loss of consciousness.

(Nutritionists approximated my blood sugar was alarmingly low due

to a self-induced period of voluntary starvation; initial signs

of severe hypoglycaemia, symptomatic of an early case of body

dysmorphia.) CCTV showed my Mum’s mouth was dry and no-one

had helped her drink through her straw for 4 hours and 32 minutes.

It was the hardest straw I’d ever held. There is no need to speak.

Presence is pinnacle. I saw a shine in a half open eye; I desperately

didn’t want it to go anywhere yet. Marketing suggests the BLT

from the brown canteen on the way out was delicious. Linguists

suggest they are liars. Linguists don’t realise words mean nothing.



Amy Neilson Smith

Bio: Poet, Sensory Performance Artist, Actress, Multisensory Designer & Creative Director for A Blind Bit of Difference – an inclusive arts & (VI) charity using dance & Sensory Spoken Word to explore colour through taste, touch & smell; her immersive 3-D human poetry installation debuted at Richmix & Amy innovates ‘Accessible Film’ with filmmaker Kate Dangerfield.