Photo by John Williams (2009)






































The Visitation

It was after midnight
when they stole into my booth
and spoke in chorus
as if reciting lines from a dialogue
rehearsed for just this moment.

The first one breathed his motherís sigh
and I recognised her sea-green eyes
and the yellow hair that once had
brushed my skin as she
knelt above me in the makeshift bed
trembling in that first sharp evening chill.

I would have been a poet
this first one said if Iíd lived
beyond the obstetricianís knife
I would have woven words to make God smile

Do you remember how you
poured scorpion words into her head
and when she felt me coil inside
do you remember how you
slithered like an eel
and crept aside.

The second one spoke up
and I recalled the nagging tremolo
her motherís speech took on
as it pursued me round
those starch-white rooms
and antiseptic lawns.

I would have been a leader
this one whined
if I hadnít been prised out
and left to dry in a stainless dish.
I would have spoken out
against the kill.

Do you remember how your
grand speeches turned to ashes
when I arrived.

The third one scratched his head.
I would have been like you he said
and I smelled his motherís sweat
heard thick Dublin curses fly
from the dark hole of her mouth
as her talons raked my back.
Tasted vile porter
poured from my throat
like black ditch water.

And he smiled
his teeth striated
like the Giantís Causeway

We drank far into the night
the third one and me.
I brought him whiskey
kissed his eyes
anointed his unborn feet.
Explained how things had been
and how they would become.

And as the dark dissolved into the sun
I turned to show him the wonder.
But he was gone.