Eternal Afternoon

Sitting in the clinic of eternal afternoon,
I am dealt an abundant supply of time to mourn
the loss of golden morning, the absence of
ghostly evening, to grieve that night will never fall
however long I sit among these soulless
glossy magazines and endless hacking coughs.
The wall-mounted television silently feeds
the sickly space with unending vapid images.

Glossy smiles, clapping audiences, sandy beaches,
glitzy dresses, pouting ladies, creams for wrinkles,
coloured feathers, singing aardvarks, sofa chitchat,
cartoon mermaids, ballroom dances, clinking glasses,
expert gardens, antique dealers, winking newsmen,
stormy oceans, orange sunsets. None of this is real.
None of this has ever been touched, or ever will be.
Taunted by endless empty promises, false horizons.

The clock above reception ticks loudly onward,
relentlessly circular in its movement. I unthinkingly
finger the corner of the cover of a travel magazine.
The old man opposite shuffles his feet, stifles a yawn
behind a gnarled hand. The sound of muted voices
comes from behind closed doors. I shut my eyes and
count. I open them at ninety-nine. The endless
afternoon in the clinic is unchanged. I sit, waiting.

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