Exile’s End

You will do the very last thing.
Wait then for a noise in the chest,
between depth charge and gong,
like the seadoors slamming on the car deck.
Wait for the white noise and then cold astern.
Gaze down over the rim of the enormous lamp.
Observe the skilled frenzy of the physicians,
a nurse’s bald patch, blood. These will blur,
as sure as you’ve forgotten the voices
of your childhood friends, or your toys.
Or, you may note with mild surprise,
your name. For the face they now cover
is a stranger’s and it always has been.
Turn away. We commend you to the light,
Where all reliable accounts conclude.

– Michael Donaghy


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