After the other guests leave, you are alone
with them, and, in the minutes it takes
for absence to settle, you plump up the cushions
on the settee, stoke the fire – seeking refuge
in the crackle of sparks – and wonder
what direction this might take. Neighbours
and friends for years, there was
that gnawing silence the last time you met,
a silence you just couldn’t explain.
Yet, when you invited them around,
they were quick to accept. Now,
turned towards the fire, you sense their eyes
on you – the burr of a cleared throat signalling
a conversation that could go either way.
Maurice Devitt: Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018. His Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.