Geraldine Moorkens Byrne

Rookie (8 November 1968 / Dublin Ireland)

Firewall - Poem by Geraldine Moorkens Byrne

I was not well that day.

Two weeks of late nights and countless
thirty cigarettes a day
and artificial light;
I was not looking my best.
I had a tenuous hold on my temper.
I was spoiling for a fight.

I read of my love’s infidelity
on the back of a toilet door
scrawled in the illiterate hand
of a twenty-five year old hairdresser’s assistant
twenty-five and an assistant.
I ask you. I re-read it. I re-read it aloud.
And I wondered if it was true, while
picturing them together. Her bleach blondeness
against the golden skin of his arm nestled;
while he strokes her neck.
And through the sound of taps and basins and
I heard the sound of my heart fracturing
A stress line like a hairline crack.

Tired eyes stared back at me, from
a stained mirror under fluorescent lights
and I held it against you that I had to be here
That I saw her cheap boast at all
that you had so little taste
that I was so easy to fool.

There was a wall of fire outside
the roar of a thousand overheated voices
desperate to connect. Just connect, man. I
remembered the cold sweetness of the morning
the incomparable freshness of a November dawn
and I was overwhelmed
with the need to escape
and I planned.

I could sit on my balcony and breath the
first breath of a new day
safe and unsoiled. I could run home
through the street and wash in the frost.
I could leave now and leave you,
all that stood between us was a step
and the mystery of love. I wanted.
I yearned. I saw myself standing high above the street
Pure and alone.

The crowd parted before me,
People looked and turned away.
Not too many women striding through a club,
Tears running in black lines around their eyes,
Fists clenched
while smiling.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 4, 2006

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