“Night War” by Lou Smith from Riversalt

I can hear them
like Formula One cars
on a track around my head
and on my skin the flame
of contusions like tyres
exploding on tarmac.
My left eyelid has swollen
I’ve been sucker punched
during the night-long battle.
I’m a sore loser.
I introduce aids– 
mosquito coils, aromatherapy candles,
citronella oil, the air conditioner–
but they always win.
Welts on my limbs
from bites or scratching,
mosquitoes in the bedclothes–
now that’s just cheating!
I cover my face with the bedspread
my arm out as an offering