Heaving from another well of unconsciousness
under flickering kitchen florescence
before relief that the worst has passed,
a middle-aged man on the woozy cusp
of harsh realisation again,
I hear myself cry out, Mum!
I have read of soldiers dying in bloodied fields
within earshot of the enemy's black tents,
men hardened by conflict reduced
to this same helpless infantilism.
Did they summon their angels of mercy
or were these just ghostly death rattles?
Some illnesses were taboo for my mother,
cancer, her own mother's nemesis,
other hushed spoken words like epilepsy.
Her fear it clutched me to its demonic breast,
twitching soaked through a chute of dreams,
shamed her, her crazed blows stilled.
A young man on trial for too long,
I was finally diagnosed after causing alarm.
Hope that drugs would slay the beast proved vain.
A thin wire of grief itches time to lonely time
thinking of those close to me never struck down,
the upright deaf to pain, my hoarse cries.