To a Patient (After Kate Clanchy's 'To a Doctor')

Alice Davies is a final-year student of Creative Writing with English.

I hear hearts on a circadian basis –

it’s knowing human pulses like a map,

the sort like the London Underground with

the lines and routes that cross over;


my stethoscope scopes out daily

which parts I must unclog and sluice,

the ones that are already dead,

so I must have known, should have said


when you laid your head on my chest

and you thought you heard –

odd knock of a fishing-line, an unlikely

catch of my heart-strings in your net,


the lift of the rod from the water

as fish tunnel their way in escape –

something that you didn’t

and your searchlight is empty.


Or more – you swiftly shut

a tiny door; I keep it open.