Hospital Selfies by Poppy Cockburn

(trigger warning: sexual violence)



Hospital Selfies

When it happened you weren’t really there

you were at home, wine-warmed and watching American Psycho

so it was quite a surprise to see yourself on screen

cast in the role of Victim 1 – you hadn’t even auditioned.

As you bled, and the film was no longer a film

you murmured to yourself let’s try our best not to die

and then hospital lights

and then little cardboard bowls, filling with your vomit

as you hurled back into focus, stomach first

the happiness of having been spared

triggering a string of overshares, here’s one:

well, that was the worst one night stand I’ve ever had

a stricken pause, your brothers’ tear-streaked faces a picture

caught between horror and laughter

I’m still me.

You could see that it was bad:

I might have to take some time off work you said

regarding your blood-blackened hands –

no one disagreed. You shifted in the soiled sheets.

Three days later, you realise no one’s taken a single picture

of you like this, so you dedicate some time

to getting the angles and facial expressions right:

sad, traumatised, hard-core, badass, hospital sass –

you send out a few to close friends with the message

I’m a survivor attached, and they come back

photoshopped, a collaged you in a psychedelic universe

crowded by your favourite ice cream.




Poppy Cockburn




Poppy Cockburn is a London-based communications professional working in the visual arts, as well as a writer, photographer and musician. Her photography has appeared in various publications including VICE, Electronic Sound, If You Leave, Notion and The 405. Her poetry has previously been published in Black & Blue. She is a member of the intersectional feminist choir F*Choir and can be found tweeting via @poppypersonism. 

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