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Image by Shoaib SR


the madrigal, volume ii

Mantelpiece Carriage Clocks

by steve denehan

Parkinson’s got her, they said

the first to see me naked


as she cleaned her bedroom window

two doors down

while I stripped and scrubbed

beach sand from myself

Parkinson’s got her

said with a touch of anger

not true of course

she lived years with it

saw the world with it

cuddled her grandchildren with it

Parkinson’s did not get her

what got her

was Parkinson’s and time


I lost a friend to cancer

after the funeral we stood

old footballers

awkwardly, under a sycamore tree

somebody mentioned

that he was a flyer on the pitch

but that you can’t outrun

the big C

I said nothing, but thought

that he didn’t try to outrun it

that the cancer was a part of him

a constant companion

that he worked with

slept with

ate his breakfast with

that cancer didn’t kill him

what killed him

was cancer and time


time, that wily dog

rage and blame beading on its coat

falling to ripple dark puddles


time, hiding in mantelpiece carriage clocks

behind ornate watch faces

in the workings of railway platform displays


time, that sneering ghost

who we will meet

face to face

just once

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and three poetry collections. Twice winner of Irish Times' New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Prairie Fire, Westerly and Into the Void. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poet and The Pushcart Prize

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