Margaret in Helvick

by John Boland

(in memory of Margaret Kennedy)

I was on the road, just below the brow
of the headland, when I heard you call.
Another dinner, another May evening. Now,
though, I slow each moment to the crawl

of images we shrug off at the time:
Joe in the nearby meadow making hay,
the sun skewed westward as a pale moon climbs
up from the Cunnigar. From here the day

will all be yours, the chicken casserole,
the Chopin on the radio, the table set
for easy intimacy, the rock ‘n’roll
of an old friendship that gives as good as it gets.

This kichen’s your domain and we intrude
at your sardonic sufferance, adopted brother
and worrying spouse, the night’s pub interlude
looming as you – lover, wife, sister, mother –

make final check of handbag, jacket, hair.
Then down to meet the Clancys, kith and Kim,
snug hours in Mooney’s, laughs galore, all care
banished and a new morning yet to begin.

On days like this, the high sun throws no shade
and balmy breezes from the headland lend
a lulling certainty to what we’ve made.
These are the days we think will never end.

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