Poems by Maurice Devitt (Ireland)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 46
And if the pain lingers I’ll buy new pyjamas,
my first for thirty years,
store them in an Adidas bag under the stairs
with slippers and my Old Spice gift-set,
received as a present many Christmases ago;
never used. I will brush off the dust,
douse my fingers in its familiar musky smell,
Lost in the slow tap of time
I will sublimate my naked ambition
into the less demanding world of church
and state, smoothly build my reputation
for indecision and write you that letter,
the one started all those years ago, when
putting pen to paper could start a war
or end an affair.
Don’t call me until you’ve read it
twice, corrected the grammar with veins
of red ink and crossed out with vigour
all redoubtable references. Even then
it might be better to send a taxi round
with your response, pay him to keep
the engine running, as I dictate a reply,
turn off the immersion and step out
into the hastening gale.
Twenty-five years of loyal service and they usher
me out. I am standing outside the building,
work life bundled in my arms like a convict
released early for good behaviour. I have nobody
to call. My wife will be at lunch or bridge
and I never call her at this time. Anyway
how could I explain? The wife who is so proud
of my career but isn’t sure what I do, the children
I rarely see. Now I must unwind the truth,
one piece at a time, and she will ask me questions,
and they will look at me, as though a stranger
has walked into our house. I will add another detail
from the complex catechism of failure
and she will pull further back. I will explain how
my first small mistake loosened one brick, a flaw
easily hidden through long nights and sleight of hand.
I will unpick the phantom deals, time-zone immunity
and the late night celebrations leaving whiskey
on my breath. I will substitute a locked office door,
obsessive repetition and the torn beer-mats of solo drinking.
I may never tell her how I stood on the bridge beside
the station, threw in a plastic bottle to test the current.
A graduate of the MA in Poetry Studies at Mater Dei, Maurice Devitt is the recent winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition 2015. He has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award, the Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Competition and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. He has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia and is a founder member and chairperson of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.
Image: "Full-res Silent-pic Test" by Sal The Colour Geek.