Poem 22 ± World AIDS Day 2017

Bernadette Crawford
Two Poems


Winter in July

under blue skies

The women in the office
wrap themselves in chunky knits

A careless glance freezes my voice
You are lost inside your too-big cardy

You know I know but
shake your head

press your finger to your lips
We speak no words

Later that year
we scatter blood red petals on your coffin


Three Paper Clips

The digital clock in the waiting room
marks time with a loud click
16:35 on an atypical Friday afternoon and I’m not focused
on the life cycle of stick insects in an out-of-date National Geographic

Waiting for the doctor to finish her phone call
I’m faceless as the digital clock on the wall
Fried chicken with salad she sings into the mouth piece
Usual Friday night delight and I’m focused

on three paper clips clinging to a globe-shaped magnet on her desk
The doctor finishes her call and smiles
with so much empathy I already know the answer
Wish I wasn’t here, but there, eating fried chicken with salad

I long for the sameness of Friday wine, friends and you
I’m clinging to life’s magnet with three paper clips
Would you like me to call someone she smiles
with so much empathy I already know the answer

16:55 when I call to tell you what I already knew
Faceless clicks clock my life in twenty minutes
Clips slip out of focus
And my stick insect life cycles by on cue


logoBernadette Crawford serves on the editorial board of the poetry magazine Skylight 47. This year she won first prize in the Poetry Ireland/Trocaire competition and her work has been published in several journals. She taught for many years in Lesotho and later worked on the Irish bilateral aid program in Zambia and Tanzania. She lives in County Galway, Ireland.

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