Posted in Rituals


December 23, 6:55 a.m.
the phone
early – almost inappropriate
it will be family or
wrong number. Wrong.
It is the Blood Service
could I donate today – yes
could I come in as early as possible – yes.
On arrival, no waiting, instantly processed – bustle
I ask
the blood will be screened immediately
then flown to a provincial city.

Three months later
another donation.
On the noticeboard, centre and proud
pasted on brown butchers paper
a cutting
from a provincial newspaper
chronicling the backstage of drama –

An urgent need for blood
a young mother, critically ill
an aircraft supplied without charge
express analysis by laboratory staff
12 donors
strangers all, to the recipient
a happy ending.
Across the bottom scrawled in children’s crayon
‘thank you for saving our mummy’s life.’



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.