Medicine Tin
by David Subacchi

Our medicine cabinet, a faded biscuit tin,
Circular with scratched roses,
Appearing only when sickness called
Or sticking plasters were required;
Air-tight it sighed when the lid
Was lifted clumsily by bloodied fingers,
An old bandage once used for a sling
Smothering the rattle of pill bottles,
Protecting against injury
From spread-eagled scissors.

Nothing remained, no crumb
Or other trace of past treats,
No odour of sweetness,
Only the sticky residue
Of congealed cough mixture
And a faint trace
Of smelling salts
Awaiting deployment
To revive consciousness
In some emergency.

And those Liver Salts
In a rusting container
“For a pick me up”
Our mother would say
In a tired voice,
Rummaging roughly
For her favourite
Headache pills;
But we knew they were
Really for hangovers.