Striplight eyed, Eve tumbles out to mourning’s waking arms, home to bed’s hollow belly, the longnight’s deadweight gushing from her soul into the pillow’s soft shoulder. She dreams of stiffened lungs, wetfaces on computer screens and an absence of cuddles in the hug-hungriest seconds. She doesn’t ever dream of applause, rattling pans. She clenches her jaw whenever she reads she is an angel, hates the politics of dirty tricks and doublespeaking, knows a word or two herself but is too spent to speak them. Wheeling the longway past all the sealed off wards, Kevin, half hoarse, makes jokes about his rough arsed voice. “It’s got no bloody choice! I’m a chauffeur, the gopher on who they all depend, driving you lot around while you drive me round the bend!” The white-haired lady facing front beams, says he’s a cheeky monkey and settles her heart from its panic. A moment’s oasis in a manic night, she can only guess at his smile or the fact it sticks at his lips, his eyes already full. He dreams of a holiday, all palm trees and balm but there are bodies to bag, corridor miles to plod. He hates the word Hero. Heroes can pay their bills and afford nice things for their children, who they drop off to school instead of dropping off to sleep. There are souls picking up the stricken of a world turned upside down, a nation who never knew their worth until now. Harry Gallagher
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