USED to be my playground, I’d travel

its underground veins in heels sharp as needles

theatres were for musicals not surgical procedures

holding hands on night buses, not bracing for injections

now I measure this city in hospital specimens

their car parks, canteens and appointment letters

Kings College Hospital—

where they noticed the hole in your fetal heart

The Portland—

where they gifted your stomach a feeding tube

St George’s, Tooting—

where they kindly descended your testes

Great Ormond Street—

where they stuck electrodes to your tiny head

where you swallow a breakfast of barium

and I’m weighed down by the protective tabard

where you fill the basement archives

with X-rays of your scarred lungs, snapshots

of clefts in your retinas, grainy video

of your uncoordinated swallow

where you are documented in pages and pages

of notes and letters in blue files and

hand scribbled drawings, those ink smudged

diagrams I pretend to understand

there would have been other kisses

in this city, in clubs and wine bars,

on rainy pavements beside red phone boxes

but the only ones I remember now

are those I place on your unconscious

forehead before the anaesthetist ushers

me out through double doors in the hospitals

of this city