The weight on her shoulders by paul mcbride

Stooped, shafts of evening sun set sparkling fields alight

As her sea-blue hat bobs above the pointed leaning fence

In tune to the slap-slap soft spits of her leathered soles.

She shuffles her bony way gently along the path of concrete grey

Staring brightly ahead as glittering raindrops

Dance their steady beat upon her scrunched-up face.

A momentary pause. Her neighbours smile benignly as she spots them

Standing there in their huddle of deep conspiracy

Before returning to their dark dissection of the day.

Staring from below, two boys in muddy clothes watch with jewel eyes as

She steps by and remembers with a sad smile the way

She used to play. Play that way with child’s delight

On that pure beach of limitless joy with hide and seek played out

Amongst the Sligo dune’s warm rustle. Hard eyes melt as

She remembers sea spray needling his soft skin and how tomorrow always seemed

Another world away. She slows, thinking back to stolen time she shared one

Afternoon as entwined fingers teased ivory keys while dropping Irish sun walked shadows

Through the room. The clock’s hands moved on, forever stealing time, and she must do the same to somehow hear

That tune played to her one more time.

Man on a Sofa by paul mcbride

The hiss of steam and clack of

Cutlery as spoon strokes china while

Coffee is cajoled into a coffee cup.

‘It’s for the man on the sofa’ murmurs

The girl, as the spoon is pushed from

Table to hug the cup so tightly on the plate.

Voices shear off each other as light

Streams through cathedral windows, shafts

Of light reflecting the slap of tired leather soles on floors. ‘Any milk?’

She asks me while I watch the spluttering angry

Machine discharge it’s darkness into cups before

I sink into cushions, falling into dense clouds. I

Drink it in, the chatter of moments in time

As voices bounce around the room, fleeting words

Heard which only hint at stories being told. ‘It’s for

The man on the sofa’. A steaming cup arrives. ‘That’s me’

I say and I wrap my cold hands round the china heat. I wonder

What words Seamus would pen? I drink, a man, on a sofa. Somewhere.