a winter’s evening, all that she had, all that she was
fits in a black bag

faults easily forgiven, shortcomings the butt of every joke
eccentric, a character murmured through tears and laughter
her boldness forgotten after us

not famous, nor rich, important only to the five of us,
we hated her for drinking, for our hungry, cold nights,
first in the door ever evening felt the horror of being
her biggest burden of the day

bastards all of us, he ran off and left us to the rumours
our childhood hiding places, vivid in her absence
where fantasies went wild of what our lives would be
when we were older, when we were free,
when life would be better

discretion was our life, no one should know
how much she drank, scrubbed with a brillo for school,
a slice of bread for lunch, in mass every Sunday
with money for the priest, charity for those in need,
bruises where no one could see, vengeance
if a word passed our lips

on this winter’s evening as we laugh and we cry
sorting her things we know she lived for us
no one knew she was sick not wanting to burden us
the way we burdened her, her struggles finally gone,
her spirit living in the five chosen to be of her
and she has left the world the way she came into it
with nothing



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