But for the clock’s double-flinch.
There there, it soothes.

I could wedge this pen
behind the minute hand,

kill time waiting for silence.
Candleflame, co-conspirator, nods assent.

After the final child
tests the floorboards overhead,

and the dog curled in its basket,
paw for pillow, sighs;

after the wind from the Boyne
clocks off at shift-end,

something like silence might come.
How to fill it then?

Black wick bends in blue flame
like an old man’s spine.

Thin ghosts drawn to the candle
think it the glowing halo of a fishhole in ice,

heavenly unattainable downlight
spearing their drowned hand,

an avalanche of silence
behind sealed lips.

Published in Abridged