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— VĂ­ctor Rodríguez Núñez

Lorna Thorpe, from A Ghost in my House

Cardiac arrest

Bank Holiday Sunday I died,
a congested artery closing, shutting off
my heart. Five minutes I roamed
the outlaw regions bridging life and death,
a place I'd often pictured — abandoned
back lot, wasteland peopled by the dazed,
those taken by surprise in motel rooms,
tunnels, the ones forking tasty morsels
that will be their last. Far away,
perhaps, a heavenly chorus,
the opening bars of Verdi's Requiem
luring some from turmoil,
notes as soothing as an angel's breath.
Others hustling in doorways, coughing blood,
submitting pleas, renouncing sins, plucking
desperate U-turns from sorry folds of skin.
Imagine me, tripping over disappointments,
tempted by the seraphims, their feathered rest,
but drawn, as ever, down an alley, down
to make a deal: drop the high wire act, shed
the glitter, all the shiny words that clank like tin,
the second skin I wear to keep me safe.