Ordinary Clothes

She stepped
into an open-backed gown
She felt silly
(slightly chilly)

dancing with
her cancer
and the doctor’s voice
telling her
like a casual god

in an empty monotone
how long
how many months
...she had to live
until Death would come
whirl her in a Waltz
Fox-trot or pasa-doble
(he couldn’t tell)

as if they were couple No.!
in Come Dancing!
“Charmed, I’m sure! ”
she looked at him
under her eyelashes

Taking his bony hand
in hers...
she would have to practice
to be perfect for her

She had never done this before.
The hospital gown
opened at the back
was the only thing
she was worried about.

I can feel people
seeing my bum
she thought
to her self

to a self that wasn’t there
and had fled with the news.

An emptiness
inside her
filled with cancer
echoed the emptiness
outside her.

The clock stood
at a quarter past 3
as if it would be
always a quarter past 3

...for ever.
It was a Tuesday
just being an ordinary bloody stupid Tuesday.

An angry bee
argued with the glass
That let the sunshine in
but kept the summer outside
(so tantalisingly close) .

She longed for her
ordinary clothes
but someone
had taken them

by Dónall Dempsey

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