Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,271 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

On The Night Ward. - Poem by Terry Collett

The dark night was out there
even though the shutters
were up at the windows
and the night nurse sat

in the small office
with her coffee
and wearing glasses
and you entered

unable to sleep
you wearing pyjamas
and dressing gown sans belt
in case you tried

to hang yourself again
and you sat opposite
taking in her big blue eyes
behind the lens of her glasses

her hair brown
and well kempt
and you said
when can I go home?

when you're better
she said
when will that be?
you'll know

she said
and sipped her coffee
how good does better feel
you have forgotten

but do not ask
her upper lip has skin
from the milky coffee

and she wiped it off
with the back
of her hand
and Christine stood

by the door of the office
dressed in her nightgown
pale green
and open at the top

showing the indentation
of her throat
and the small valley
where her breasts began

can't sleep
she said moving in
and standing by the desk
you looked her

feeling an intrusion
yet glad she is there
her being there beside you
the smell of her

her hands on the desk
what is it with you two?
the night nurse said

if it's not one
it's the other
or both
can't sleep

Christine repeated
had a nightmare
dreamed I was at the altar again
and he didn't show again

and it happened again
and again
the nurse said
I'll get you both something

but if the doctor
hears of this
he may recommend
ECT again

she looked at you opposite
across my dead arse
Christine said
but the nurse had gone

just you and Christine
and her nightmares clinging
gazing out the office
onto the sleeping ward

in semi dark
and the dread
of the ECTs
hauntingly present

remembering the last time
in the small back room
waking with a head heavy
and in pain

and Christine
lying beside you
on another bed
eyes closed

stiff like one sleeping
but acting dead.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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