St Stephen’s Green
School children race across the grass
exchanging jokes and cigarettes
four o’clock: a breeze checks the trees,
the sky’s turned flesh pink.
An old woman risks feeding pigeons.
The duck pond shimmers brackishly.
I’m reading with cold hands, waiting
for another hour to pass. Only four o’clock.
My husband works hard and I fidget here,
like the solitary man rolling a fag
tossed his way by a schoolboy;
it looked unintentional, like so many things
like my sitting here, ‘on holiday’
accompanying the business trip.
I clutch a bag of sweets; the boiled kind
that rot your teeth.
This is the longest stretch of day,
when the world winds down and I wake up
listening for the early leavers
rushing to catch a bus on Merrion Row,
hauling grocery bags. I shall wait
a little longer until my feet are numb
then bustle through the hotel door
hiding my hands.