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     ‘Cancer was named for the crab, because a cancer
     tumour sends claws out into the surrounding tissue.’

               from Sightlines, by Kathleen Jamie

More plaster of Paris
than waxed alabaster, my mother,
entombed in a hospital bed:

her stone-cold effigy.
Not death but dying, a greying out;
colour enclaving to her nails.

The passata of blood
in the bag above her, drip, drip, drip
into the clear, acrylic vein,

while in the corridor,
normality – Status Quo, rocking
all over the ward. Inside her,

pincers, reaching in hugs.
They will tell me later she’s stable.
Later still, they did all they could.