Michael Cullup

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from A HIDDEN LANGUAGE (Greenwich Exchange 2020)

He's asleep.
Today's newspaper lies, unread, on his lap
and the T.V. shouts.
But he doesn't hear.

Where is he now?
Where will he be
when what's left of him wakes up?

I hover at the end of his bed
reluctant to wake him
even if I could.
Damaged beyond repair,
his brain journeys steadily through space
while the engine of his body
makes and remakes itself.
His paralysed arm hangs over the edge of the bed
and the future has slipped from his dead fingers.

In his abandoned study
his books line the walls.
He will never read them again.
His notes and agitated scrawls are useless now,
his files closed,
his computer switched off.
The blank screen on his monitor will never,
even briefly,
flicker into life.

Covered in dust, his pen lies
under the empty desk.
The curtain blows, listlessly,
by the open window.

Nothing remembers him
or where he came from.
Nothing knows
where he has gone.

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