Those who have shared
Many passing years
Often bear a close resemblance,
I see its proof,
Sifting through my parents’ generation,
Rapport sculpted on cheeks,
A story told
Like two pages of one book,
As though emotions shared
Are stored in the rising, dipping
Landscape of muscle.
My face may rise in tandem,
Might play the slow duet
Into the years.
It may carve its own path,
Like chiselled ivory in the moon’s light.
There are mountains and valleys
In my face.
The Taste of Raspberries
I bit into a peach,
And somehow, the sour kick
Of flesh softened by four days’ waiting
Reminded me of raspberries,
Skulking behind the fir trees of my childhood home.
We’d pinch them off like eggs from a nest,
Be on our way
Across the rocky stream dipping and tumbling to Sligo town,
Or whipped by low twigs
As we scurried between trees,
A burst football or two
Kicked to the base of each trunk.
Sometimes, kids from fields away
Would come to play
(Or cousins, measured in roads).
They’d steal a berry or two.
Today, I’ll buy my fruit in the Galway market,
Sure to pluck a Sligo face
Shining between the shoulders and scarves.
Here is where they come some Saturdays.
I’ll cross the Corrib,
Atlantic spray webbed to my window.
I play in Salthill, too,
But I’ve never found a raspberry
At the bottom of the ocean.
Like a hunchback on the floor,
Its shadow thinned by candlelight,
Faded jeans and jumpers fly,
Adding to its sloping height.
Each item wears its time of year,
From airy summer to winter-weight.
A flailing shirt falls to the floor,
Arms at the angle of ten-to-eight.
Stripes of blue and white emerge,
Print peeling from the chest,
A freckled face fills its hole,
Lips and hair once caressed.
Worn, but worn for something more
Than warmth, allegiance or style;
Memories and emotions woven in,
For now, it belongs to no pile.
I see character in all things worn:
The wire hanger bent out of shape,
The candle’s wick drowning in wax,
The cotton neck’s oval gape.
Those stripes still hang to the edge of a chair
As the hunchback is cleared away,
But every fabric sheds its skin.
Loosened threads will always stay.
Copyright © Trevor Conway 2015