The last summer he walked slower, chose to linger.
Pausing in a laneway, he ran a thumb along the seam
of an old garden wall – ‘Those joints need pointing’
he warned; attentive, we saw in his face some strange
play of inward movement. On request we drove to Meath;
those fields a dozen times the size of his own
pleasured his eye. At Christmas leaning on the window sill,
lovingly, he gazed over a few loamy acres towards Gola.
In mid-January, cutting back briars, he fell with his scythe.

Several years later, I waken deep into the night,
hear you sobbing to yourself. It’s Patrick’s Eve,
that evening your father used return after
his winter exile, a labourer in Scotland; three
eager children watch the dark beyond Dunlewy.
Now, at last, the bus’s headlamps arc the sky
overjoyed you race the lights to meet him at Bunbeg.
Tonight, here by your side I listen, then kissing
your forehead, throw my arms around your sorrow.

From A Fragile City