an unwanted flow of excess bubbles by Zoe Guilherme



          an unwanted flow of excess bubbles–          .

when the neon lights announce
my name and room no 4
I place the magazine on the coffee table
and make my way
it’s a hot day and everything runs
25 minutes late

what can I do for you

we chat and I am given
a prescription

oh while I’m here, could you check
this for me, please

would you like a nurse to be present

no, that’s fine, thank you

his fingers, push and press
– I’m more concerned with hiding
my nipple beneath my index
and middle finger

I don’t want you to worry
but a specialist should completely remove
this as soon as possible
… – completely …– hospital …– remove

I feel my blood —
I hear my blood —
like tiny bubbles in a black kettle
the sort that look like
shrimp eyes caught
in the violence of a net


Zoe Guilherme

                                                         *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *                                                         Critique by Brendan McEntee 

This poem has weight and impact–it’s keyed into experience and converts experience into something relational: “experiencing” the doctor’s office, waiting for information (and reprisal of said information) being hostage to powers outside of one’s control. The tension of being “in the violence of a net”–the narrator is endlessly “in”–waiting room, examining room, doctor’s hands, in her head. The poem has grown from the experience of the poet, who delivers it well. There is much to be said for the emotional impact as well as intellectual.  Poetry is a self-conscious enterprise, but oftentimes finds itself in closed rooms of theory without purpose, a challenge of intellectualism that borders on the absurd and is greeted with a shrug. This poem connects, allows light into those rooms of the individual experience, at a moment of extreme difficulty. That the poet chose to focus on this moment, not the recovery or becoming “a survivor”, allows the reader to stay in the moment with her, trapped in the net.
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