Frank Dullaghan – A Childs Soft Toy – 4

A Child’s Soft Toy
Dubai April 2019
by Frank Dullaghan

There’s a child’s soft toy on the flat roof below me,
thrown from a higher balcony perhaps, or deposited
by a flying baby. I saw it as I stood to go back in–
lemon and green, its lonely flower-from-a-crack-in-the-
pavement vigil, lovely.
It is becoming too hot to be out. 
The sun gnaws the back of my neck. I can feel the scorch
of its touch. The flagstones, paving the edge of the lake,
throw back heat in a sweltering conversation with the sky.
It’s too much. I’ll arrive at my desk in a sweat.
This is the start. The summer
is donning its blaze in the wings, clearing its throat.
It will sing for months. I’ll keep my head ducked
into cars with AC, into buildings that hum. I’ll keep out
of the outdoors. The child’s toy will grow pale, its
colours giving over to bleached sand, its ornament
My wife is preparing to leave
for a cooler summer, to sit on green grass freckled
with buttercups. I’ve been working for forty-three years,
getting up every morning, going out. There’s a weight
to that. Retirement gleams on the horizon.
I have set my course by its beacon. It is coming towards me,
slowly, like that flying baby perhaps, bearing gifts.


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.