ITíS THOSE NOVEMBER DAYSÖ

 

 

 

for Cliodhna S.

 

 

 

All right, I didnít write to you that I was coming.

I couldnít. Itís those November days, Cliodhna.

You were out of town, at some uncleís in Mayo

who I didnít know. If youíd been at home,

would we have met each other? At Doganís,

at The Stagís Head? There

the excess 18th century wood could have deadened our voices,

and who knows, our memory. Do you still have the photo

of me with my arms round you? Full tables, empty plates;

empty glasses, exhausted, laughing faces. All the

venues, the chaotic days, the night-time intimacies ? I can

no longer recall them. So much has changed,

too, so much has changed.

We were too reckless. In the afternoon

we got up and walked, cowering in heavy coats, over the Haípenny Bridge

into the city centre. Always exhausted, always laughing. We drank too much.

Now Iím on the other side,

leaning against the facades of Wellington Quay, one leg lifted,

supporting myself with the sole of my foot against the brick wall.

Evening has come. The water of the city flows black as stout.

Heavy lorries thunder past. The rain

falls like needles into the Liffey. Drops sidle down

my glasses. And that one sentence -

She should have beaten me to death

keeps going through my head.

Youíre not home. There are no lights on in apartment five.

The rose bush we planted

stands neglected on the terrace. A noisy group of young people

approach. I move on -

just once more, out the door, along the Winding Stairs,

on until Woollen Mills, then over the bridge,

past the wrought-iron fence, the lampposts, the beggars,

into the city centre. The heart beats in the centre,

you said. I recall too much,

these November days. Everything becomes familiar,

returns, repeats itself. The rubbish on the pavement,

Guinness Is Good For You, the rain

that makes us scurry into the station in Tara Street. At Landsdowne Road

I remember you playing rounders, you among the girls,

at Sandymount, how you stand under the shower,

at Sydney Parade, your navel, your bush, your armpit hair,

at Booterstown, your bed, your sofa, how soundly you sleep, at Blackrock,

how you wave with your hands, at Seapoint

that I leave you in the middle of the night. At Monkstown

I get off. In the dark a dog barks

as it pelts after the train.

 

 

 

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Joris Iven