They Brought Grapes, by Lorraine Carey

I am not a silent poet

The old unit lies empty,
the huge windows
no longer reflect
dead eyes of patients
staring out at daffodils,
sheltered by the grey wall,
mesmerised by the greyness
of it all. Watching for strangers
dressed as mothers, fathers
with bunches of grapes
and resentment.
Clock watchers, their fakery
and smiles, perfect Wednesday theatre.
relieved to return to their silence
and Stanley ranges, whiskey
bingo and gossip.
The smell of their freedom,
a stench really, crisp and sharp as autumn air.

The confined shuffling in their furry slippers
from bedpost to window
window to bedpost –
the grilles imposing on the peeling frames
the paint flakes huddled in corners
like little snow piles

Nightfall meant snores and sniffles,
the weeping moans
of despair and sadness,
as much a part of darkness
as any dream.
The silence now deafening

Poet and artist Lorraine Carey grew up in Greencastle, Co. Donegal. Her…

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