Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Her hands come awake from the apple-green shutters
of sleep. She clasps the end of her belt tightly,
as if she can no longer speak for herself or only
with telephone distortions, the meaning of a row
of black spinal buttons between sender and receiver.

Now here is her favourite cup with its matching plate
and a letter so young, something inside her feels
just like the lines and better than sleep.
As she walks to the window, she smooths out her girlhood
into a shadow of body-colour.

It is strange, how his eyelids close from below,
how love blows her hair to the right, his first beard
to the left. A face in a photograph destroyed
since childhood catches her by the gate-legged
oak table -- the chance-seen face like a cold moonstone
in the window's sixteen panes.

She remembers his having to throw stones in the water
to break his dream -- and how the river returned them --
or seated at the stone table under the yew, explaining
his need for streets.

At which the birds and vine bed-hangings complain, we have
been taken in too many times by leaves against the window:
a window should be a wide-eaved colour beyond anything.

-Medbh McGuckian