Today's poem is by Lisa Bickmore

After You Left,

we crossed the river another dozen times,
twice in taxis, walked to a new museum, bought books,
found the Mermaid Cafe and took the train to Howth
where the stairs up to Church Street smelled

of ancient urine .and the abbey kept falling, invisibly,
to ruins under a brilliant sun. It was late September.
The station with all its hurry had chocolate and crisps
to eat. I bought a magazine. At the end of this journey,

we had emptied ourselves of nearly every desire:
only the west still glittered, unsought and unobtained,
and you had gone home to your city of granite
and further, to your village, and we were alone

with the Irish and the remnants of the dawn
when we kissed you goodbye on St. Augustine Street
just blocks from St. Audoen' s and its ceiling
made of clouds, only hours from the last sunlight

that poured like a river down the stone street.
We walked to bronze and bird-stained Joyce,
and the black pool for which the Vikings named the city
was nowhere to be found, but everywhere

was the absence of you: girl skipping with paper bag
and hair bow; you sitting across from me at tea,
me appeasing disconsolate Evie outside the exhibit
of the ancient book. We viewed Yeats's notebooks,

lingered over faded signatures and you were not there:
the light was chalky, cold at the bone; sirens brayed
up the streets. Dublin would never miss us, but we,
foreign, exhausted, longed for you at Ha'penny Bridge:

the enigmatic saint stenciled in spray paint on the door
spoke your names: this would all go on and we would
disappear as the detail of a fresco altarpiece had, leaving
just the outlined torso of someone once said to be holy.

Copyright © 2017 Lisa Bickmore All rights reserved
from Ephemerist
Red Mountain Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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