2019 Second Place

Neighbourhood Watch

by Finola Holiday

I never twitch the curtains but can’t help seeing
what goes on over there – cars coming and going
with the care contingent. The place looks bare
without her. Catholic Irish they are-
very devout. We nodded across the street
from time to time, nothing more intimate.
Then “Hospital,” the postman said, “None too good,”
the gardener told me. Of course I understood
immediately. Then she was home – flowers, nurses –
but still they put the dustbins out as usual,
took the supermarket drop from a white van
on Tuesday. On Sunday I saw a man
in black seemed like a stranger, at the door
ringing the bell for a long time before
they finally let him in.

I’m told its over now – and she’ll be away
to kingdom-come, a hundred thousand welcomes
waiting. I wonder can those angels play
the Irish harp for her in their green heaven ?
I’ll not go to the wake, it’ll be sweet and sickly
with lilies and candles and all that believing –
and her going feet first into a hole to an eternity
of unbeing.