walks past the nurses’ station,

hands in her pockets.

The lights gutter – small signals

to an inmate’s cartoon God.


runs her fingers through her hair –

bad stereotype,

bleeds the watercooler dry.

Words stick like wrecked train cars. O.

Olanzapine shrugs,

picks through lovers like white meat,

swallows the headlines.

If there is an animal

with four stomachs, she is it.

Clozapine summons

spit and paunch, seizure and light.

She makes a small God

out of origami card.

She is the shrinking violet.

Risperidone sings

of tin-men and rust hinges.

Alarm in her chest

is a hundred thousand gnats

hitting the moth lamp, head first.

Quetiapine speaks

slow as shame. She bows to each

nurse, and falls apart

so quietly, a soft bird.

Nobody counts the feathers.

Elizabeth Morton is a writer who has published in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA. She was feature poet in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017, and is included in Best Small Fictions 2016. Her first poetry collection, Wolf, was published with Mākaro Press in 2017. In 2013 she won the New Voices – Emerging Poets Competition. She is completing an MLitt at the University of Glasgow, usually in her pajamas. She likes to write about broken things, and things with teeth.