Poem of the week: The Persistence of a Certain Street in Rain

By Katherine Duffy

Katherine Duffy’s poetry collections include Talking the Owl Away (Templar Poetry, 2018) and Sorrow’s Egg (The Dedalus Press, 2011)

Katherine Duffy’s poetry collections include Talking the Owl Away (Templar Poetry, 2018) and Sorrow’s Egg (The Dedalus Press, 2011)

 

A girl sits on the stairs on a rainy afternoon
facing down the narrow hall towards the front door.
Lunch is over. Nothing more will happen until evening.

Sounds of the street reach in like movie ghosts
pleading for attention: a hiss of tyres on the wet road,
slow clap of a cleaver from the butcher’s on the corner,

uproar as silver kegs fall into the jaws
of the pub. A magazine is open on her lap.
Do you light his fire? Take our quiz to find out.

Soon she’ll make the leap, the long swim south.
She feels the brink but doesn’t know yet, as she sits,
ticking options, that the ghosts will win out in the end,

that a street in rain will stow away in her, with its wet
brick, slate sheen, with its chimneys, yards and doors,
and the rich curses of its passers by in the downpour.

Katherine Duffy’s poetry publications include Talking the Owl Away (Templar Poetry, 2018) and Sorrow’s Egg (The Dedalus Press, 2011).