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Image by Katia Kru


with the martello journal

On looking at photos of closed-down, St. Brigid's Hosptial, Ballinasloe

by bern butler, i.m. of my grandmother

I see strewn, dank debris in hollow rooms
tattered patterned curtains, dipping
to black floor pools, mildewed lockers
splayed on crumbly carpet tiles;
curled-up edgy truths un-swept out.

In a clearing, bed-frames jangle-joust
a bewildered wheelchair idly rusts,
in the nurses’ room pill-white coats hang
slack, dusty ghosts of hectic people
gone and not come back.

There’s a sick-pink corridor, punched along
with dark-green doors whose gaping mouths
hang open, showing padded stapled walls;
etched souls’ canvasses, yellowing, exposed.

No more needling medics wander,
or worse, no bored, clock-watching screw,
in the corner of a ward, I see an Exit sign,
its light not on, they've all gone home –

I think of you.

From Galway, Ireland, Bern Butler’s work has featured in Force 10, The Ropes Anthology, The Galway Review, North-West Words, Abridged, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Dodging Rain, The Madrigal, Gnashing Teeth and Skylight 47 (upcoming). She was a featured reader in Cuirt New Writing Showcase 2021 and holds an MA Writing from NUI Galway.

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