Outside the Mater Hospital Dublin

Death Bed Amends

Long I’ve wanted to see you thrown
from a helicopter into a muttering volcano,
or have my people do things to you
with electricity and enthusiastic Alsatians,
but I never had the cash or necessary contacts
in South American governments of the nineteen seventies
to make it happen.

I contented myself with knowing
you’d one day come
because your conscience was gnawing the remains
of what, for argument’s sake,
we’ll call your soul.

I’d greet you,
once you were close enough,
with a scalding
pot of tea or cup of suspiciously warm
homemade “apple juice” across, hopefully,
the gob.

But now both you
and your conscience
can pop in to watch me cough –
though visiting hours are, naturally, restricted –
safely forgive yourself
through all that bastard glass.

Kevin Higgins


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