by Seamas Carraher

And always:
(as big in their embrace as existence!)
Those who remain and Those
who go
and of these two classes:
a question in legs! another in furniture,
a third hard in their grief as a rock,
a fourth crippling
as an earache
a fifth mighty as a chest
with dawn, always, in our uplifting
(its fog colder than politics)
constantly descending,
and the roof of their mouth
housing my poor dream in halves,

And Those who remain and Those who go
why do they remain?
and where do they go?
and how much does it cost them?
(Accounting these chequebooks in loaves and children,
them greedy mouths and their gums all mathematic:
always a banker in roadsides, all destinations
checkpoints on their road to hell).

And who do they leave behind?
And how do they get there?
And how soon their arrival?
(which is negative to our waiting,
our reversal in human bargains!)

And what, finally, brother, is this place i call home?

Those who remain and Those who go
(as big in their embrace as life!)
for us, in our sitting,
solid as brick in our brittle lives

(i shake this house with my lungs
i open its doors,
this house who wears me like a hat
bombarding its head with security
- bitter as shrapnel!)

What wings open the air for Them?
What names do we call Them leaving?
What words welcome Them
who are more us
reduced of this sunday,
(our perambulation in reverse)?

How do we greet them now this wind
grabs us in our decisions?
And where, most importantly,
is this place called home?

For Those who have remained
and Those who have left:

a bed to bury your timelessness in
a grave to catch our songs out
a meal to nourish our darkening
a drink to swallow our drowning in.

And for the rest
for the bankers and the builders
the taxi drivers and the louts (who
hold these buildings up like parliaments)
for the square faced and the counters of shopkeepers
for all leavers, deserters,
in this flat earth
cleaved with time in its circles
and emptied in our furious filling

a note of promise!
a debt to be repaid!

We are coming
in this multitude
across our emptying earth
to embrace in recognition
these shivering shoulders,

and Us
(as big in our embrace as these extensions
called love!)

who is
this shivering friendship.

Copyright 2021 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.