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by Ted Mc Carthy
After the ward grows hushed,
broken vaguely by the creak of wheels,
whispers at the desk, a distant flush,
or the half-footfall
of a dragging leg, I sit and think
of you before your mind assumed its dark.
That flat bush by the gate
you leapt with barely a run-up, is a tree
so densely packed and twisted it must die
under its own weight.
Remembering how we bent its limbs like bows,
it's hard to grudge it that grotesque repose
except I find its calm
a kind of mockery of your hollowed state,
it leans aside and waits a final storm
while your forever night
remains undrawn, unmeasured. That a mind
should simply vanish, is beyond unkind
but what are we to do?
Say plainly this is how it was and is,
that whether we know or not, the same day passes,
but pay what reverence is due
to memory broken like a stepped-on shoot,
the dark-green tracery of withered roots.