from long black shoelaces

Psychiatry 4: Acute Observations – Poem 56


Please be aware that this poem is on adult themes (suicide) and may be confronting.

I think they’re going to pull the plug soon

maybe tomorrow

she’s been in intensive care since Thursday
in the afternoon
when we found her
tried to bring her back to life

she started breathing by herself
for a while
but that’s all

today they said her brain has died
everything is being done
by machine
set to automatic

on Friday
we talked among ourselves
told what we thought had happened
what we saw

someone said it looked too late
before we’d even started

and the girl who cut her down
had already lived this once
this was a second one the same

why do they do that

I don’t know
nobody seems able to say
but this one used shoelaces
lost consciousness
then strangled

it seems a stupid empty way to go
and today
we’ve been remembering that suicide
is a fleeting thought
and our job
is to see folk through
to the other side
of nothing left
worth living for

a community-based colleague
said she was thinking of us
as she drove to a home visit

halfway around a bend
she saw a mother cow
licking a baby calf

around the next
a flock of cockatoos
the biggest she’s ever seen

and she thought of us
checking bedrooms and bathrooms
for people suspended
maybe dying
thought she was lucky in her work

I guess she is

tonight
I got a call from Intensive Care
family members want the possessions
the diary and phone numbers

I’ll carry it all across the campus
tomorrow morning

but the shoelaces
have gone


© Frank Prem, 2016

Next – between ridiculous


Note: This piece was previously posted on the blog, but I want it to appear in correct context as part of this series.

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