You stand at the gate and see the children off to school,
try not to cry when they twist free
from your wrist-grip, wipe
the spit of your kisses from their faces,
nod and sigh when other mothers say they are relieved
to have the house to themselves, say nothing,
but know the sound of empty rooms is deafening,
the absence of child screams, footballs bouncing
on lino floors, spreading dirt for you to sweep.
It stops the four walls papered
with swallows on a yellow background,
from closing in and swallowing you.
So you break away from the herd
heading for home with their dreams
of sweet tea and talk shows, Facebook and Tinder.
Walk back along the streets of the town; wander
through the aisles of the supermarket,
pretending to search for some make-believe
brand of washing detergent, fill grocery bags
with scones, milk, baked-bread and secrets;
trudge through the Do It Yourself section,
searching for thumb tacks, blue tack,
sellotape, magic adhesive
to keep it together, buckets for the tears.
Clifton Redmond lives in Carlow, Ireland. He is a member of the Carlow Writer’s Co-operative and has had work published in Orbis, Antiphon, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Silver Apples and various other journals in Ireland, Britain and America. In 2015 he was long listed for the Over The Edge Poetry Contest and Shortlisted for the Fermoy International Poetry Prize. This year he was chosen to take part in W.I.S.P.A. (Welsh, Irish Spoken Word Alliance).