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AFTER TEA AND SANDWICHES.

By: dadio

Page 1, A BOY AND GIRL IN A LOCKED WARD IN A MENTAL CLINIC IN 1971

You watched her run
the bread
and butter knife
along

her inner arm
blunt blade
gesture only
enough to give

the nurses
something
to think about something
to make them

take the knife away
and sigh or curse
beneath breath
she walked about

the locked ward
in her light blue
nightgown
no shoes

or socks
or stockings
sometimes she’d search
through the men’s drawers

for razor blades
or something sharp
no doing
you said

I’ve looked already
she said
heard you tried
to string yourself up

in the john?
had those damn nurses
wetting themselves
and banging

on the locked door
and god
how they nigh
wet their panties

with it all
she said
almost managing
a small smile

bags
under her eyes
her pale skin
thin lips

sans lipstick
how do you think
it’ll go?
waiting

your next chance?
maybe
you said
she touched your hand

ran a finger
along the wrist
and scar
her gentle skin

setting fire
to tired flesh
then after tea
after the sandwiches

which Big Ted
brought up
from the canteen
watching

the sky
turn blue
to black
you knew

the dark was approaching
and the Black Dog back.

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