Dusk Ritual

Drumnakelly, Northern Ireland

 For Gretta                


the last of the light struggles
through the hedges
limps across the muddy fields
rests on the window sill
finds new fire in the begonias
fills the scullery with sudden gold
and silhouettes her love
in a gesture

she takes down the polish kit
kept in a cookie tin
presses it against her blue pinafore apron
pries open the lid

with vigorous strokes
she blackens the work boots
of her men

shines their labouring movements
along the scaffold

                     the rhythmic scrape of their trowels
brick bats kicked
                     from the planks
the quick curses
                     their stories laid course by course
as plumb and true as any wall

                     (with some wavering
                                          home from the pub)

she sets the then
by the hearth
ready for morning

the only men on the line
with polished boots
no mortar hardened eyelets

she wipes her hands
on her apron
snaps the lid on the tin

the sun burnished sky
quietly darkens


Rae Crossman
Published in The Grand Table Anthology





Rae Crossman