We are all in this together. A poem by Ger Duffy

Asking for an appointment at the CAMHS clinic
is unprecedented. Eyeing the cross hatched patterns
on her girl’s right thigh, undercutting each other,
some light, others separating flesh, red crusted,
her urgency is not theirs. Think of it like this, her girl
has three other sides to cut, then the whole of two arms –
or take her to A&E, or stay at home and wash your hands.

Waiting twenty months for a prostate biopsy, you are
one of 3,000. It’s probably very slow growing. Even if we
could give you an appointment, no samples are being tested
no tests are being analysed. It’s really bad timing to have
cancer right now, cocoon and wash your hands.

She types “Home Maker”, lists her hobby as baking
as she sets up a “Go fund me” page, her kids in best clothes,
smiling as if it’s Christmas Day. She orders the toys
from Argos in May. Her cancer, in her collar bones,
is stage 4, her palliative drug is unavailable from the HSE.
At night she smokes until she is totally stoned.
We are all in this together, stay at home, wring your hands.


I live in co. Waterford, my poetry has been published by Slow Dancer Press, The Womens’ Press and Viking Press.

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