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.