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i.m. Matt Laffan 1970–2009

Four villages in Ireland
knew never to mingle their blood
but such lore gets lost
in the emigrations.
Matt Laffan’s parents learned it
in their marriage of genes

they would not share again.
They raised him up through captaincies
and law degrees. He exalted them
with his verve and clarities,
sat on a rugby tribunal,
drank beers a third his height

and rode his powered wheelchair
akimbo as in a chariot
with tie-clip, combed red hair,
causes to plead. Beloved in Sydney
he formed a travel firm
for the halt, and grinned at them:

Doors will often open:
beware a step or two
down or up when they do—
and he told self-doubters
as his public box kite flew
You’ll always be taller than me!

Popular with women, and yet
vision of him in their company
always shows a precipice near
or a balcony-lit corridor.
I would have lacked his
heroism in being a hero.

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