Friday 24 November 2017

The Madonna from Cork

New Irish Writing - Poetry

On the Underground tiles

she is holding out a multi-pack cereal box

It is frayed from use and kept empty

for greater entrapment

Wrapped against her breast is a child of

four or five

She is being schooled

to look younger

My morning coins are ready

to avoid pausing and scrabbling

These are brief exchanges

I know my luck

and I want to buy more

But I hold back the coin

I will not pay for this child's lessons

her long shift by the rushing feet

her rote learning

'do ye have any change'

Now I am holding out a note

enough for the ferry to Cork

I fumble it into the box

We meet eyes and

we glare

Irish Independent

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