Keening with Spital Tongues
By Kathleen Kenny


The Accident

Hardy as the rain-soaked fields,
Uncle Mick leans on his spade,
to rest his back,
pushes back his worn-out hat,
takes the wet from his forehead
with the cuff of his jacket.

He's ninety-two and wiry as a fence.
Tonight as always
he will take the bike from the shed,
clip back the wide legs
of his Sunday trousers
and pedal to Lizzie Greenan's.

After seeing off a pint,
he will hail his goodnights,
will crunch the red and black bike
through the pebbles of the car park,
before fluttering off like a kite,
a ribbon

midnight blue and singing,
not seeing the last Hilltown bus,
not hearing the fuss
as he is thrown under.

As he bites the dust,

back in the pub, the regulars will discuss
the benefits of work, of keeping fit in old age.
Then they will raise their glasses, toast:
Years from now let's hope that's us.
Long live Mick.



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