Frank Dullaghan – Twenty-Third December – 3

Twenty-Third December
by Frank Dullaghan

South Woodham Ferrers, UK 2018

Day refuses to come early in this wintery land.
Night continues to press its dark face to the window.

Each step is chill in the tile-sharp cold.
Two days to Christmas and every dog is asleep.

Cars are deep in dreams of leafy lanes. Nothing moves.
Even the wind, that yesterday grabbed and shook

my garden, left it traumatised, trembling,
is dead to the world. I could be the only one awake.

Light invades the room when I switch on the lamp.
It investigates everything, finds out all,

waits for me to catch up. And now a wigeon
is practicing its one poem, learning to project

its voice to the back of a hall, pausing for an applause
that doesn’t come, begins again and makes it better.

This is how the day warms its engine
before the sun pulls it from the void and casts it

like a grey net over the town. There’ll be last minute
necessities, to take me into people-swarmed shops

when all I want to do is float about the house,
leaf-light, begin my forgetting of the year, wait

for the new one to land and flap on the ground, its hard
eye on the future, its body a nerve-shimmer of lightening.


Frank Dullaghan is an Irish writer living in Dubai, UAE. Cinnamon Press in the UK has published four of his collections, most recently Lifting the Latch (2018). His work has been published widely including in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, London Magazine, New Welsh Review, Nimrod, PN Review, Poetry Review, Queens Quarterly, and Rattle.