Poem 133 ± October 15, 2015

Prudence Chamberlain

In 2015, *** inadvertently ingested HIV blood on an emergency call-out. After 31 days of antiretroviral treatment, there is a three-month waiting process for the all clear.


The eye is the organ of vision & on you it is like a blue/green heartbeat looking with the quiet sight of diagnoses. I imagine the imperfect spheres of your movement, that certainty undoes a sweeping circumference as you purposeful & porous blink once or twice.

In 2013 an eye-­licking fetish swept through the adolescent population of Japan & pink-­eye spread amongst students in urban areas. The bacteria in the mouth is dissimilar to bacteria in the eyeball; it can lead to blindness. Oculolinctus and tongue to membrane porous and spit and almost red.

Plasma water glucose mineral ions hormones carbon dioxide red blood cells albumin leukocytes platelets haemoglobin self-­diagnoses on the Internet new ophthalmologist of the Wikipedia page.

You get blood in your eye in a professional and consummate way while my hypochondria is both inherited and cultured and we are different in that way.

HIV is found in the bodily fluids of an infected person which includes semen vaginal and anal fluids blood and breast milk. 95% of those diagnosed in the UK in 2013 acquired HIV as a result of sexual contact & you get it in the eye; it is its own pun & your chances of infection are somewhere under 1%.

I am shit at my office job you can start hearts with your hands it is a training process with a system we sit outside of and for now we can touch one another medically and hold hands in public in the right places if we’re ready for it.

Prudence ChamberlainPrudence Chamberlain is the author of the debut poetry collection I sit on your face in Parliament Square, forthcoming with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. Her work has appeared in 3:AM, Poems in Which, Luna Poetry, HYSTERIA and Jungftak. Prudence recently finished her PhD in the poetics of flippancy and feminism at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she lectures in Creative Writing.