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Farewell to an old patient


Oh, Ian, so suddenly you’re gone.

These cold purple lips


delivered denial

through our twenty-five years together

kissed the smokes

sank deep the 19th hole with your mates

cheerily asked for the bad news

at every visit, while I kept saying

what doctors are expected to say

repeated quarterly

along with ritual weigh-ins

lab tests and prescriptions

and all that diabetic crap.


Bald, bearded, round

this face under the sheet.


Your iron defence, always jovial

eventually rusted

to an anxious edge

as you borrowed time nearing sixty.

Sure, Ian, you accepted late

the need for needles

and made your peace with pills

but the habits of a single bloke

life-blood and death-trap

were never really on

the negotiating table

were they?

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