Bewitched in Dublin
Late afternoon shadows in a silent room,
once elegant, and still so, though dust and time
now hang sluggish in the tired air
and small tatters on the velvet curtains
are new since the days I was at home here.
The old and dented fender’s dulled brass is
duller than when she liberally burned coal
that spread gleams of warm gold across the room.
I stand and slowly walk its length and width,
then sit again in the green high-backed chair,
leather more stained and crackled than before.
From the first moment, my favourite room
I thought without thinking — she made it so.
When first we met after running into
Bewley’s from a sodding autumn deluge,
both protecting copies of the same book,
we’d laughed and argued, and been surprised.
Charm, warm smile, yet distracted by something,
looking bleakly out the window.
She was an actress, she told me,
a haunting part which suited her because
‘I’m maybe an ironic Irish witch.’
When rehearsing comic or tragic roles,
playing piano, even when angry,
always in her eyes the ghost of a smile.
She trod an outer edge of irony,
close enough to hold hands with mild madness —
witch or no, she bewitched.
She introduced me to her friends in pubs,
parties, ‘This is my man who knows about hearts —
but only their plumbing,’ with a wry shrug.
Invited to a Texas hospital
to learn new techniques of valve replacement —
‘Come with me, I’m your heart man, after all.’
She said she would hold me here by magic,
that I would cease to exist if I left.
She’d been true to her word —
not one word more did I receive —
emails and letters ignored, phone disconnected.
I’m back, half a dozen years behind us.
The flat is now for sale.
I sit in the green high-backed leather chair
and look around the lifeless room — wondering
would the witch come back and make it live again?
Kieran Egan lives in Vancouver, Canada. His chapbook, ‘Among the branches,’ was published by Alfred Gustav Press, Vancouver, in 2019. He was shortlisted for the Times Literary Supplement Mick Imlah prize in 2017 and Acumen’s International Poetry Competition in 2020, and his poems have appeared in the UK in Acumen, High Window, Orbis, Envoi, HQ Poetry Magazine, Interpreter’s House, Dream Catcher, Dawntreader, and Sarasvati, and in the Canadian magazines Quills, Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review, Grain, Qwerty, Antigonish Review, Canadian Quarterly, Ekphrastic Review, Spadina Literary Review, Pace, and in a number of U.S.A. magazines.