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margaret mckay lived on wellington way
where the night voices sang in her ears

on the day she turned twelve, she set fire to her shelves
and the hope chest that held all her fears

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when the ambulance came, she could still feel the flame
she wore a singed satin dress and foul mood

she sang to her shoes of old age and bad news
as they drove through the gates of st. jude’s

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for three weeks she sat still, staring out at the mill
where the local boys bullied and brayed

on the twenty-third day when the nurse was away
she knelt down by her bed and she prayed

she snuck up the stairs and with the help of two chairs
climbed out on the green copper roof

she crept to the ledge, where she made a soft pledge
then leapt into the arms of the truth

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as she fell toward the ground
a strange chill stole the sound
eyes wide, and then wider
as a light sang inside her
a song of loss and of sadness
but with no hint of madness
singing doom filled with gloom
it sang her back to her room
where she broke open wide
her warm heart beat and cried
it hummed in her sleep
to a slumber so deep

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on the twenty-fourth day, she felt lighter and gay
and she spoke to a girl from next door

when she mentioned the spirit, the girl wouldn’t hear it
put a hand to her mouth said “no more”

then she took margaret’s arm, said “you’re safe now from harm”
as the music welled up from the floor

there she lives till this day, in the near far away
a small boat that at last found the shore

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