Folded like a ticket,

I’ve a telling of love too perfect to endure,

tight beneath my clinical jacket.

In a midnight scratched by torchlight

I can tell it over the eloquent locks of nurses’ homes,

as I test them; over owls’ stark prognoses;

and over and over, turning it slick as a scalpel

or a scandal slipping from mouth to mouth.

Leaking diluted light, the lips of the doors of the ward

slop open. A woman without legs fumbles for her name,

as, with all her stories, it floats beyond her fingers.

Her tale has turned mad, but mine is certain.

I’ve wheeled her from ward to ward.

In the dark the mortuary gate gives with a whisper.

I tap my pocket. I’ve a ticket out of here.

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