Her faint moustache curved in a smile,
the nurse suggests a cigarette until
the medication kicks in. So,
I take a turn in the gardens where,
in slippers and plaid dressing gowns,
the long-term patients, the incurables,
shuffle their ways among droll trellises
and nodding roses.
Half an hour
and there you are, eager for lunch in town.
You wear a pale blue sleeveless tee-shirt
and display the scars of careful razor-cuts
like badges of rank on your upper arm.
Lance-sergeant, I conjecture. Well, perhaps,
but radiantly corporal.