Maria Isakova Bennett

Evening came, the sixteenth day

After the storm that’s my mum—
screaming at me, at the nurses,
telling us she’ll batter us, using words

I didn’t know she knew, all’s calm.
Mary, in the next bed turns the pages
of yesterday’s newspaper,

cuts a banana with a plastic spoon,
feeds each piece into her custard.
Betty, opposite, sucks a bread roll,

folds tissues, wrappers, paper bags
into perfect squares. A doctor pauses at Jess,
flat out, bay 3, announces, I think she’ll die,

marches on. The tea lady rattles through,
leaves Mum four egg sandwiches,
calls me lovely. Mum hasn’t eaten

for sixteen days. At the window a seagull,
beady-eyed, raps the glass. The sun fails,
but sets its fire over the cathedral.

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