Over 40 years
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Michael O'Neill, from Wheel

Making a Will

And once again we must entrust to those
who view us by appointment from their desks
the shape or lack of shape of destined loss,
the terror our politeness masks.

Draft follows proof-read draft until
even our deaths are discourse — not our own
but waiting for us in a well-groomed file;
today, the needful thing is that we sign.

We do and, to a legal nod, soon leave,
scenes of conclusion put on hold
while sunlight hurts us like a chance reprieve,
and we resume the lives that we have willed

away to children whom we buckle up
as if for the first time, who, as we drive,
we know will one day glimpse the inner shape
or lack of shape of what we tried to give.