Ali Whitelock, Some things you can never un-know



scotland, winter, 2014

nobody knew what was wrong.

we sat around your bed every night in the vinyl chairs for four
hours that felt like four hundred in our far-from-expert white coats,
hypothesising, googling, guessing – lying, mostly, to ourselves and
to you.
i feared your thin; your evaporating legs; the blanket engulfing you;
the mattress you were disappearing into.
the thing was you seemed a little better that night. you even bobbed
your head in time to the jingle of the Cadbury’s chocolate ad blaring
from the telly in the corner of the shared ward.
your cousin tommy came that night.
the chocolate eclair your sort-of-wife brought the day before sat
on your bedside cabinet uneaten, its brown paper bag saturated
in the grease it had leeched. the tube of condensed milk i’d brought
to try to tempt you into eating something sat unsqueezed.
when the bell rang at…

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