Clare Saponia



Illegal Illness                              


It’s official: the stats have shrunk.

It’ll be illegal to be sick by 2020.

Disease has been cut. So don’t

develop ME, rheumatism or any

strain of mental imbalance

or you’ll be pawning breadsticks

for psychotherapy sessions.


Don’t catch STDs or smoke yourself

to infertility. Don’t have an accident

on your front porch without a fully

comprehensive insurance policy:

there’ll be no beds to death-rattle in,

no emergency staff at hand to yank

gadgets out of children’s noses.


Don’t bank on anything other than

this one minute detail: that sickness

will be cut when there is no longer

a service for it. The league tables

will see to that. Just watch how

cancer dribbles off the NHS menu,

how hip replacements halve to a halt.


There’ll be no future docs with nous;

just the stupid, rich ones who can

foot the bill and bribe their way into

the medicine cabinet with a sharp

wrench at daddy’s little finger. So

don’t get sick any time soon. There’s

a time and a place. But it’s not here.





Clare Saponia © 2014




He hadn’t meant to be put on trial like that.


He said, they were of a different opinion:


They tickled each of the remaining five pigs

of his right hand before snapping and carving

in reverse order.


They stopped at two and a half;


enough to make writing difficult, female

satisfaction – the job of other men. Not for

the likes of him.


They said, it was because they had caught him

having sex –


in a tree.


He said, they weren’t blessed with imagination.


He said, they didn’t care much for his films either –

even those made with seven and a half digits.


He said, he was glad they had left his thumbs,

for want of something to twiddle whilst awaiting

his asylum papers.


He said, he had no intention of letting the other

seven and a half leave the UK again.


He said, the word homesickness meant something

completely different to him.





Clare Saponia © 2014