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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.