7:30, Dublin

shops open.

merchants bare their wares in light

reflected off the lawns of Liffey esplanades;

a motley haze from ruined palisades

arcs up and yawns away its breath;

a sigh replaces salty air.


“You can smell the dirty parts of town,”

a skirt whispers,

“when the wind shifts.”


soldiers march.

truncheons on the cobblestone of Parnell Square

gallop beside the boots of fusiliers;

the General and arrayed familiars

pass drink and wench by rifle’s width;

a priest waves.


“You can hear the water in the bay,”

he shouts,

“when the wind shifts.”


the wind shifts.

shirts convene in dwindling piles

along the sides of Muglin’s Rock;

Forty Feet of highland wall unfurl

and curtain swimmers

to where Protestants wait in bed.


the wind shifts.

street dogs stretch their haunches

yawning up beneath the skirts of portly gentry;

shops’ clothes,

wistful on the racks of tawdry men,

go unsold.


shops close.

soldier, priest, and dog swim home,

bowing heads against the Dublin twilight;

reflecting off of churchyard walls,

arcing up into the absence of the sun,

when the wind shifts.

The End

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