The New Bar

Liam Ryan

[Third Place, Strokestown International Poetry Awards 2012]

Some years later when they were fitting
a new bar in the lounge I was called in
to consult with the Fire Officer about
relocating one of the exit doors.
He was a small contrary little man
with a well thumbed copy of the Building
Regulations, terrified of making a decision.
I could talk to him, tease him about footballers
and some sense seemed to alight in his head.
The double doors out onto the Square were open,
the new bar had just arrived from the Joiners
workshop, its incense of resin and glue
filled the strange emptiness of the space;
the voices echoing, bouncing around the room.
While they were stuck on some boring detail
with the electrician about alarms and signs,
the Interior Designer arrived with her samples,
the builder stood up, straightening his back
and I wandered over to the spot inside the door
where I had fallen in love with you
that Friday night after a book launch.
You standing, yapping, radiant and wild,
tearing into someone about, was it, politics,
and of course revelling in my attention.
But there wasn’t a sign of it left there,
the wallpaper steamed off, the carpets gone,
floorboards lifted for new wires and pipes,
even the very tiles you stood on, gone.

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