Thursday, 5 July 2012

At the hospital

He is left with

the feel
of father’s cold hand; no recognition
as he held it, no tensing muscles to test themselves
against the child.

the sound
of  his mother’s shoes
clicking upon the hard floor as she hurried
to call absent sons.

the smell
of disinfectant, a faint whiff
of father’s final sweat after the last battle
has ended.

the taste
of tears sliding down cheeks
and touching lips - a Christmas morning kiss
from childhood.

the sight
of a face known intimately,
as remote as a rainbow; no strident farewell
can cover the distance.

He remembers
looking out the large square window,
sunlight pushing through the clouds, like raised swords,
then the sparrow

landing on the outside
ledge, cocking its tiny head
as if looking for the next passenger to carry
into memory.

In his mouth,
the charcoal taste of dry words,
withheld, now black and useless to ears
that vibrate into emptiness.

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