night run

written for Shay’s word garden – “the Legacy of Ladysmith”

running into the dark 
his feet like knockers
demanding of the earth
to let him in

his breath is a riddle
the way it keeps coming
a repetitive index
listing time

in – she’s gone
out – he’s here

the fog opens 
and closes around him
the road is foreign
patches scooped grey

the blanks of missing heroes
that old oak 
its head ripped off 
by reams of demolishing white

in – she’s gone
out – he’s here

he’d told the doctor
“lose her, you lose me too”
and by god he'd meant it
his own face 
painful with savagery

in – she’s gone
out – he’s here

hospital elegies
insipid blue and beige
those crying machines

and then a vortex 
spectacularly awry
and him spun out 
shot like a cannon
just to keep on breathing

in – she’s gone
out – he’s here

and so he runs
hearing only smashing shoes
and slamming heart,
lungs like torn sponges

on and on
in and out 
never acknowledging
the yellow moon
its bald and baleful eye

24 thoughts on “night run

  1. The intensity is so evocative of times spent with loved ones in hospital – as if all life outside stops, suspended, while the crisis goes on. I like the repeated lines, and especially love that yellow moon with its bald and baleful eye. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. The “hospital elegies” tercet described that scene and place so well in so few words. Your subject is one that is searing in real life but often rather predictable in poetry–yours isn’t. It’s fresh and raw and conveys all the emotion, panic, and pain of this kind of loss. The running and the repeated couplet are perfect. I see above that you had to attempt the List several times; believe me, the effort was worth it for this.


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  3. This stanza is my favorite. To juxtapose “riddle” and “repetitive index” says a lot of what emotional state this person is in. It touches something both reductive and lost.

    his breath is a riddle
    the way it keeps coming
    a repetitive index
    listing time

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are so many poignant images invoked in this poem, I don’t know where to start. But favorites that stood out: the old oak with it’s head ripped off (we had one like that on our farm), and the hospitals crying machines. I love the repetition too It is very effective.

    Liked by 1 person

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