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Sonnet for the Woman in the Ward

The ward in August, cold and scrubbed as two
surgeons bent over a sternum cracked clean,
contained sixteen suicides, failed; a slew
of sleepy manic types; one a former dean

until the visions lost their beautiful war
to large men holding straps and a needle
that took him from the child he used to adore.
By him a woman slouched, ghost limbs, scarred skull,

her skin dull as winter bark, IV attached
like a guard to her vein. ¨Gunshot,¨ she said
when she saw me look. ¨The bullet just scratched
my thigh; booze, fights and pills fucked up my head.

I’m a frequent flyer.¨ Laughing, her eyes
flash black: can’t be killed, the part that never dies.

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