For Agnes Mary
Rain in my 42nd year, soft as forgiveness.
A memory of you, collapsed on the couch –
the chesterfield you always called it,
“I need to lie down for a minute
on the chesterfield,” which sounded
to me like a meadow, broad and tartan,
ready to embrace us; small and slack
you were, on the sofa, a hand across your eyes.
The husband and two eldest boys finally
out of the house, hustled through breakfast of
poached eggs and juice, bundled with brown bag
mock chicken white bread dutiful lunch off
into rain onto lumbering bus.
Eight a.m., drained and lost every day
on the field of sofa, too too surrounded
by the whiff of men like dark trees, long shadows
too much on the move, too much requiring.
Eight a.m., sprawled in the open, watched only
by a four year-old wanting someone to play with,
his need gone silent for a moment, then running
clear across your field of pain.
Copyright David Cavanagh 2003