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A & E

In the middle of A & E

with its restless worry

stands the tensed-up guy

in handcuffs and police custody

with a dark top on his wiry frame

bordered on both sides

by officers, sweating.

Edgy and brittle,

bottled in with old pride

and punched-up hope,

the room fears a blow-out

as his blond sister

comes and goes from him

in tight jeans and fear.

Worn out,

the old man waiting opposite

nods and winks

at the pumped-up guy

opening hope in his head

and drawing tension

from the room.

*A & E is Accident and Emergency in the UK, Ireland, and some Commonwealth countries. It’s what the US calls the ER.


Anto Kerins is a conservationist, writer and educator. His latest book on learning is with Routledge. He has been writing poetry for a number of years. His most recent public reading was at Culture Night, Ireland 2020 with Poems for the Journey through Pandemic.


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