THE FINAL of my nine Poems For The Lockdown is from my third poetry collection, Frightening New Furniture, which was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010. It was inspired by an interaction I observed in a famous Galway bookshop. Any resemblance to Charlie Byrne’s is entirely deliberate.
The girl behind the counter whispers: “Yes, Mother”,
then puts the phone down with a cosmic sigh.
You look up from your D.H. Lawrence.
Something rustles in your corduroy trousers.
You want to shout: “Let me through!
I’m an existentialist”; to take her hand
and tell her: your own family Christmases
often resemble the aftermath of an embalming;
that your brother’s a fully paid-up member
of V-neck Sweaters for the Bomb;
that most years you honour them
with your absence.
That you’d like her to come up
this evening to see your haiku
and the life you keep
in the shoebox under the bed.
That you’ve been admired
by women with bad judgmentall your life…