The Saturday Poem: The Night Hardening

A new poem by John W Sexton


The wet olive mat of the cement path
had been left to darken in the dusk. First
a cat had crossed it with its shadow, then
edged it with a curving pie-crust pattern
of paw-prints. Then a boy with a stick marked
the shape of an airplane over the line
of the cat’s footfall, for he thought
the paw-marks looked like bombs gliding down
through the sky. Then someone drew a heart
pierced by an arrow and the name Áine.
Then Áine arrived at the already-setting path,
a crust of concrete on the edges of her name.
Then the path became hard, hard as the night
hardening, hard as a sleep once settled.

John W Sexton’s sixth collection, Future Pass, will be published by Salmon this summer