Johnny Bell


I was one of the "asthma kids"

who ran by the glass doors

where the eight year old Johnny Bell

lay strung up on his back

in plaster and steel


a pumpkin head on a baby's body

with an often surrounded bed

he'd talk to anyone

then chant his champion football team

"red and green - South Sydney"


I spoke to one of the nurses

doing the vegie shopping

"he's dead

made it to seventeen

a good age" she said


now there're no twisting blue-worm veins

or that gathering voice

but the ward echoed with Johnny Bell

and everyone knew his name


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