Maggie Rainey-Smith

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Quite an Assistant (The Coroner's Report)

It says:
your pulmonary arteries
contained bright pink blood
but your lungs were normal
apart from their colouration


(I can never forget
the blue of you in the coffin)


it says:
your stomach was sent
unopened to the DSIR
and your heart,
the part we miss most


weighed 400 grams 


It tells us
you were a physically
healthy young man
but as you are dead
this is no consolation


the dregs in the cup
they found beside you
were sent for analysis
with a control sample


the report speaks
of a deforming scar
on your right cheek
(that’s going too far,
it was only acne)


the post-mortem concludes
this was a deliberate action
which gives us no satisfaction
because we’d rather know why


you chose this time to die


did you hesitate at all
was there regret at the
moment your lips met
the deadly wet cyanide


did you think of us?


no health and safety
rules were broken
at the factory, the
report tells us


you had your own key


they summoned your
wife as a witness, and
after being duly sworn
it is recorded


she said  
We were happily married
and he was always
planning for the future ...


and something else too
that threw me when I
read it, because I never


he was quite an assistant
around the home.


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