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Rusty Broadspear

The man pondered the veins in the back of his hands

And the black forests that grew between.

These hands were old, gnarled, experienced, worn,

Tired of life, of what they'd done, touched and seen.

Drawing on a pipe that had died hours before,

Pallid funereal ash floated in the air like mites.

Shirt cuffs were threadbare, buttons long gone.

Suffering shorter days and overstretched nights,

He fingered an ancient scar, third finger, left hand,

Recalling his ring, caught up in a weaving loom.

Would've ripped the digit off but the ring broke in time.

Nails too long, filthy, then the room dimmed to gloom.

An odour of silent decay rounded off his day.

His fingers entwined on his greasy lap, as if in prayer

Thumbs tapped a jagged tempo in time with his heart

Gloom dimmed to black, he wanted his days back

But he'd handed them over, resigned, time to depart.

It was at that moment

And with that thought

That unseen to anyone

His thumbs

Tapped their last heartbeat.

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