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Poem
Clouds
  1. Michael James Leach
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael James Leach, 17 Maxwell Crescent, Strathdale, Victoria 3550, Australia; mleach11{at}hotmail.com

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You spent most your life

with your head in the clouds

of smoke that billowed forth

from the O-shaped mouths

of the ones you love.

­

You never smoked

so much as one cigarette

in all your cloudy days

spent in places you came

to call bittersweet home.

­

Your parents and husband

fought for breath and coughed

blood before dying one by one,

leaving you and your

dear daughter all alone.

­

You lived on as a widow

who sold bright bouquets to

people who knew you by a

smoker’s cough, a cheeky smile, and

photos of your granddaughter.

­

When the time came for you

to fight for breath and cough blood,

you felt a poignant love

for the grand one who shaved

her tiny head for your cure.

­

The chemo made you

bald like your granddaughter

and vomit like your daughter

yet kept you alive for

the birth of your grandson.

­

All winter, your oncologist

wore the crochet scarf

that you made especially for her

just before moving out

of your bittersweet home.

­

Your family often visited

your spacious hospice room

to be there with you as

you faded like the old

flowers in your closed shop.

­

You spent your last days

with your head in the clouds

of soothing words that flowed forth

from the inverting, U-shaped mouths

of the ones you love.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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