'Flash' writing anthology about chronic pain - submissions welcome!

Tag: medical (Page 2 of 4)

‘She asks if it’s raining outside’, by Jane Hartshorn

She asks if it’s raining outside while she takes my blood pressure. I ask if I should take my shoes off before I stand on the scales. Sharp scratch, she says before she slides in the needle. Four vials of blood, all with sticky labels. I take the foil plate into the cubicle, slip on the purple latex gloves. My name is printed on the side of the plastic tube. The body makes the slow transition to data.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how painful are your joints? I try to measure my pain. She presses on my knee and I gurgle, spit out my tongue. My body is unmarked, conceals the grinding of bones. No sign of swelling here, she says. Writes it down. Ghost-bodied, I float somewhere on an interface, alongside the sick. Sleeping whales suspended in the blue. We sing the numbers of our suffering.

  • by Jane Hartshorn


‘Shooting stars’, by Marion Michell

Worst days pain ricochets like shooting stars with pinball crushes. Oh the love! Releases fiery goo when ramming rib, tooth, bone. Skull reels alone; body razed by frequent flyer flares, flags pushed here there, declaring consternation zones. Each smart begets another, emulates, and brass bands march in new-laid grooves, playing their loudest, most discordant tunes. Strangely breasts score synchronicity, pressed hard against the faces of two grinning clocks (hands colliding, clouding time). Neither words nor image until pacified.

  • by Marion Michell

Blog https://supinesublime.wordpress.com


‘NIGHT SWEATS’, by Blair James

you sit in my throat like a stone in shoe 

eyes dry as bone. bones hurt. 

why cry? 

these days that feel different but all so same. 

little belly wrenches all the time as though to be freed from something 

tonsils i should rip them from my neck. daft neck 

neck forever stiff 

but why should neck feel at ease when i remain so needlessly static 

lose my reasons every day 

and think of new 

you div 

ask yourself what time it is. what day 

become like a teddy bear. 

apples hurt my mouth but i still eat them. 

how life is unfair. 

why must i scratch my skin? 

not fair on you 

to have everything 

daffodils. i used to kick their heads off. weak. 

it follows me round everywhere. 

what’s the point in being alive when you’re dead 

how can you sleep when you’re wet 


  • by Blair James

United Kingdom


‘Snap, Crackle and Pop’, by Amanda Steel

Waking up at 2am
Neck locked again
Tilt forward, searing pain
Then snap, try to get back to sleep

A morning spent studying
Sat at a laptop, the pain spreads
To my shoulders, I stretch
Moving head and shoulders, crackle

Late evening and writing is done
I think I might be too
I move and my whole body seems to pop
This can’t be right, I’m only thirty-eight


United Kingdom


‘pain and Pain’, by M-S-Y

The difference between lowercase-p, pain, and uppercase-P, Pain, is huge.

Bigger than just a shift-key should make it.

The difference between “Yeah, let’s go on a hike today!” and “I can’t walk today.”

The difference between pain that ends, and Pain that just backs off for a while.

The difference between the morning pills and the afternoon pills and the evening pills and the night pills and the pills and the pills and the injections and the appointments and the Pain.

The differences between the screaming in your head and the screaming locked in the gilded cage in your throat, and the knowledge that it is a bird that will never die, it will just remain in you, like a bird throwing itself against a window pane.Yes, pain and Pain are so completely different, I can’t believe they’re even spelled that same way.


  • by M-S-Y

United States

‘A MEDLEY OF PAIN POPS’, by ford dagenham


acceptable inevitable storm-head alarm
that holds back its rain
and mumbles thunder instead

a hard-sell of cotton ignorance
on the sofa that’s the world


the days hurt
the nights – well 

they’re a VHS video-nasty
trembling on pause

I only hope 
why I yell at him


drugs argue 
in my blood
bedside drawer

like married pensioners and their TV shows

they could get along

far far away
without me


I told the Dr
that it all hurts SO much
and I’m SO tired SO much
and its SO very hard to THINK now
that it makes me want to CRY
but I CAN’T cry
I told the Dr
cos of all the antidepressants

and she barked involuntary laughter
and suggested I swim


  • by ford dagenham

hatchbacks on fire: author website


‘The Diagnosis’, by Roseanne Watt

A rookery, long abandoned now, 
had been built inside my body.

I don’t know where the birds went
or why, one day, they uninhabited,

leaving only their barbed-wire 
residues, strung across the boughs

of my hips; all sticks and spit, 
all hollows meant for holding 

something small, still desperately
alive. I’m sorry – I’m afraid 

I know only my own dark canopy, 
its filtering bones of light.


  • by Roseanne Watt


‘Seczema’ by Isabel White

I flirt with my itch.
By turns it niggles, seduces, pesters;
as it gapes, festers,
I reach down,
don’t dare to look,
rip legs to shreds with nails, shorn short 
(but not short enough);
viscous red
smeared across my calf,
warm to touch.
I suppurate for art;
as if sawed in half,
shriek a pain.
I climax;
vow to abstain 
in future;


  • by Isabel White

United Kingdom

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