The Order
Ages ago, in hospitals.  Now too. And later.
Machines blink, shuffle, heave this or that matter
On beds of steel or straw.
 
One day you have arrived at the foot of this bed
And find, somehow, your father, or
Someone, dying—and everything shuffles
 
And blinks to fill him, to heave the matter,
Startle the phlegmy eyes that—should you even bother to leave—
You’ll see through once...
 
But you must go, you do: the breath reaches you
From the bowels of his mouth: it hisses something
Familiar as rotten straw, as a bed you woke in once....
it is ages ago now, and you’ve long ago left what you had to leave.
 
Something is here, though, now, and later, and ages ago,
And among a thousand thousand pinnacles of corn,
it stands at a kind of attention before these paled generals of time.
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