after Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Their eyes betray nothing
of what might have gone before.
Were they caught in a cat-fight
over a dress, borrowed
but never returned, or a letter,
steamed open and hastily re-sealed –
news that could not be unseen,
the final link in a chain
of stolen glances, whispered words
and footsteps quickening
on the wooden stairs?
Or had they lost the morning
to impatience and panic,
the constant cling of call-bells,
paths crossing like ghosts
in voiceless corridors?
Either way they will slip back
into their lives,
the feelings they had shelved
and we will never know
what words were spoken
in the half-eaten silence.
Runner-up in The Interpreter’s House Poetry Competition in 2017, Maurice Devitt was winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015 and has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Listowel Collection Competition, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award, Cork Literary Review and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. He has had poems published in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, runs the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and is a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.