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Julie-ann Rowell: a poem


Two drops under the tongue;

the taste of herbs. I've taken the high step:

CBD and THC. My clinician said, "Fine. Try it."

I wait for transformation. Days line up and...

nothing happens. Oh, hey, a slight elevation

but no dizziness; it's all plain sailing.

It's plain, the feeling, not like sailing. I'm winding

in; I know I'm changing. Three weeks on

and the drifting solidifies; becomes hard centre.

I watch people in the street, am urged to

strike out and eviscerate; to see the carotid

explode, the stutter of the body, the shock of blade.

No malice and no vitriol, nothing remotely cruel,

only a need as pure as the purest alcohol

in which you can see your own reflection.

"Did you act upon it?" the clinician asks

on the Zoom call, looking down at his notes,

his biro at the ready. "No." He takes that down.

"Do you feel better now you've stopped?"

"Oh yes." But I still remember clearly

how it felt. How urgent the need. How necessary.

Medical cannabis is prescribed as treatment for Functional Neurological Disorder.

THC – tetrahydrocannabinol responsible for the psychoactive qualities of Cannabis.

CBD – cannabidiol

Julie-ann Rowell’s fourth poetry collection, Exposure, was published in 2019 by Turas Press, Dublin. Her first pamphlet Convergence (Brodie Press) won a Poetry Book Society Award. Her collection Letters North was nominated for the Michael Murphy Poetry Prize for Best First Collection in Britain and Ireland in 2011.

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