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Plainsong for a daughter III

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For Coco

In the ward again, at fifteen, then sixteen

she lies frozen.

At tilt with her world

this arrival again, bleached with trauma.

She ghosts into

the opiating realms of unexplained fevers.

Notice

among the alleys of drips, hooked

to beds or wheelchairs

the complex faces of parents with their damaged children.

At the Royal Children’s Hospital Parkville,

what might divide us, distinctively

in the cumulous gift of living.

She is strange colours,

hosted by angels undoubtedly.

They patter here, yet darkly

to wrestle and reckon young mortalities.

Tested are the doctors’ reasons.

She sleeps for days, in this clock-time perversion.

My own attention, edged lucid, prayer

shaped to her breathing.

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