Night Duty
John West

   Senryu for Mal Morgan

Smog in gullies;
my first night shift
in almost 15 years.

I knocked,
you came out, drugged
from waking at 4 am.

I listen for patients
in stiff white sheets.

You sat, coughing,
talking; miser sun
through window.

Walls dam night
but it leaks
into every room.

Poems about you
that you liked last year
are now fishhooks in your skin.

I wipe dried froth
from the mouth of the man
dying alone in his room.

Radio turned so low
I can't get words
glued down.

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