I look up to find by Daniel Mulcahy


our neighbor Paddy Joe in his white hat and leggings

leaning like death against the black wrought gate

dog laid at his feet

I cannot see his face for distance


he turns away without a wave

one must assume his eyes are going

it can't be the cancer –

the rasp in his throat

from hurling abuse

that has got no better since he drove me to school

in his leaky old bus-without-seatbelts

at the end of the drive those dark October mornings

when I wore my dad's coat with the long sleeves

and no hood against the rain


it is autumn now, late afternoon of an Indian Summer

Paddy stands framed by black tarmacadam and the leaves yet to turn

except for that single flaming shrub

on spindly limbs as pale as spider legs


as he turns away he almost disappears in profile

so thin beneath the bulk of his wide-brimmed hat