on a wrought iron bench in Bristol

petite cars tug-tug
down streets too small for hefty
worries; heels clack on

cobblestone, billowing foul
smelling smoke from cigarettes

held in curled fingers
of luncheoners in dapper
postures; things are red and brown,

the bricks, the leather purses,
the toupees; the sharpened sound

of gull-calls float here,
un-musical notes; useful
iron tools clunking

on an anchored boat; laughing
fog-horns mix their gray echoes

with the mumbling bridge
traffic, puffy faced strollers,
unmanicured chums,

a pale stolidness that can’t
be bombed out, purged, or forgot,

like stone; the sun grips
the noontime sky with a light
padding of old palms;

there is a sleek patience here;
the hours peel back, unnoticed;

a young blue-capped man
with a missing tooth asking
for 10p; there’s none

of the rudeness of lost nights
in his voice, only the need

to use the public
phone; he takes what I offer:
nothing.  But he leaves

a cheerio that jingles,
a lilting song,
still singing.

About the author

Jamie Donohoe is a teacher, poet, screenwriter, and film-maker. His poetry has been published in Lalitmaba, Thema and The William and Mary Review. Most recently,…

Read the full bio

Issue 21 · October 2014

Table of contents