It’s her last of six night shifts.
He’ll have left for the field
by the time she gets home.

And the copper man
has been dying for days,
disappearing into his sheets.

His son only visited once.
The tests will always be positive.
He’ll never leave her, it’s his blood.

She takes her breaks in his doorway,
knows he will be gone by morning.


First published in Read This #15 (2009) and revised as ‘Night Nurse’ for Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, 2010.