Nick Ascroft

Lovable Medical Alien

The dust-gathering illuminated in spindles
of light, these little radiances the air told, held
Corin’s eyes, and he felt with all the medical
anomalies of his body their weight and pushed on.
The fields of the earth — grass, electromagnetic,

furzy yellow hills with trapped thistledown,
paddy, hockey, vector, any — imparted their mass
through the pale skin of his feet. His albino
eyebrows grimaced, and he pushed on.
That his stories had more suffering than

yours, that his baritone on the telephone was more
professional or quietly more kind, that he was more
open-handed and wide-sleeved, or that he could
hover like a butler — though unaloof, candid from
the experience of living’s tenuousness and careful

from the same — that he had read more, thought
more, saw, understood and remembered more
in his nocturnal eyes and that he remained sad,
wise, foolish and joyous in his many tragicomedies,
and pushed on, was all proof’s pessimistic

pudding-skin to me that he was and is an alien
and a saint, an archetype and a terrifying fable.
The hospital corridors blink. In full moonlight,
the university registries shuffle in discomfort.
All the clown faces, clipboards, bad news and

hallways he pushed through are red, panting.
Shuffling at the keys, Corin’s hydrangea hands typed
tiny crevices into the world, holes that sigh about
light, dust, the textures of surfaces, the seeded waves
of music. It is a small condolence to have his voice.

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