Mark Brophy

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One Last Call


The back room of the social club, dust suspended in sun
Bingo always takes precedence, word’s of another gone.
All sitting in the same old seats, the spreading gaps a sign,
Bar soon won’t be worth opening, none will hear the bell’s chime.

Without herald lives slip away, a steady human drip.
What do they know? What do they think? No stereotype will fit
Not uniform, nor each mundane, Where have they been, and when?
When they’re gone they are gone for good and no use asking then.

Grandad called out from his sickbed “Who’s there?” Silent others
willed me to speak but I could not, scared Death might notice me.
“It’s Mark here.” You can’t hear me now, twenty years between us,
and even if the name carried, redemption never would.

This small boy heard you chant his name, “Super Mark” was the song,
in response to a sporting triumph that meant everything
with my youth’s lack of perspective. That was my pinnacle,
why when my presence meant something my failure mattered most.

Someday I hope my children may have children in their turn
When my time comes to leave them all I’ll want another word
Another and another one, a tarrying note I’ll send,
One last call in some curtained room no closure at my end.


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