A hot summer’s day on the estate, tar-lines
softening in the blistering sun. Constructing
triangles with ice-pop sticks, we meld the corners
with our new liquorice glue and whip them
like frisbees from between our fingers,
to watch them ride the warm silent air,
twisting and dipping until they crash and split
like atoms, sticks splayed. I throw one
and it takes off, rising sharply as though from a sling,
then stalls like a cough and bounces off
the windscreen of a cornering car. Sliding
to a stop, the driver jumps out, engine left running.
I am already gone, scooting down the side-passage
of our house. He lopes up the steps, pounds on the door.
No answer at first, just the peripheral view
of a net-curtain settling. He looks up at the windows,
they hold their silence. He shuffles self-consciously
on the step. My mother opens the door, her small frame
standing tall in the doorway, her face suitably sullen.
The man is shouting about what I have done,
while my mother examines the chips in her fingernails.
He demands to see me as if it were his right
to exact some revenge. My mother seems to grow taller
in the darkened hallway, as I appear sheepishly
from beneath her housecoat. He stretches to grab me,
she pushes me back, takes one step forward and explains,
that while she is aware her son is young and reckless,
he does not need to feel this anger to know
that he is wrong. Fear will teach him nothing.
The man harrumphs and walks away. I catch
his last regretful glance from the driver’s seat,
knowing that, for me, this is not over yet.
Winner of the Trócaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, Maurice Devitt has been nominated for Pushcart, Forward and Best of the Net Prizes and been runner-up in the Cúirt New Writing Prize, Interpreter’s House Poetry Competition and the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition. He published his debut collection Growing Up in Colour with Doire Press.