in memory of the residents and carers
of Meadbank Nursing Home, Battersea

the room empty of you
except for a black plastic mattress
wrinkled by the weight of a body

wind on the skin of the water

plastic dolls with crocheted dresses
slippers socks T-shirts toothbrushes
and the books so many books all burned

the river is dusk dark

Charlotte says do not forget
the room is their home
the window their world

a murmuration a vortex of wings

nineteen men on one floor died
more than forty-five residents died
including two carers

a lung of loss suspended moves

do not say what is one more death
or it is to be expected or
they were going to die anyway

see the lone bird among the flock

years of crossing this bridge to collect
the communion box punch the keypad codes
the wheelchairs the bewilderment

hypnotizing the sky holds up a pattern

we massacred hymns lifted the chalice
broke wafers in half said a blessing
watched the staff hold up the dying

starlings want to be warm at night

when we can come back to serve when
we are allowed to know each name we will
write them in the book of the parish dead

come home to the bridge dear starlings come

By Evalyn Lee


Evalyn Lee is a former CBS News producer currently living in London with her husband and two children. Over the years, she has produced television segments for 60 Minutes in New York and the BBC in London. Lee’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts, ed. Martha Hughes; Hawai’i Pacific Review; War, Literature, and the Arts Journal; Broad River Review 2016; After the Pause; Amarillo Bay; Delmarva Review; Plainsongs Poetry Magazine; Potomac Review; Red Savina Review; Saint Ann’s Review; Sheila-Na-Gig; Stickman Review; Streetlight Magazine, Typishly; Wax Paper; Whistling Shade; and Willow Review.

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