After. Bull-clipped to batter-time. Fused to the mattress like a semi-sentient tuft. Pain a high-pitched jingle, endlessly rewound; tiredness a throbbing hum. A cumbrous weight bears down, as if all the clothes you ever owned were piled on you. Fibre strata. Underneath you moor, bald and bony. Eyelids hang on rusted hinges. You do not lust after anything, nor wish, nor hope. You know nothing but this, here, ego’s primordial outpost. And when, after a long-drawn, graceless sway, fatigue begins to lift, ever so slowly, a kind of restoration starts, incremental, fitful, stiff. Soon consciousness feigns fluency, prepares to preen its hide: hot pink, like a conch shell’s jowls.