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The ghost tree

Phantom pain

By Paul Broks   December 2000

i drive across town to the infirmary. Jake is on one of the big orthopaedic wards. When I arrive his parents and girlfriend are by the bed. There is no talk between them-a bubble of silence. I get the impression there has been no conversation for some time.

He is the image of Christ on the cross. Matted curls of black hair drop over sunken cheeks. His forehead is bruised and scabbed where a crown of thorns might have been and a bed-sheet, crumpled at his hollow midriff, serves as a loincloth. His lean, pale, upper body bears other scars…

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