Holding Vellum to the Light
The pages of the city
unfold its secrets
like holding vellum to the light,
a palimpsest of the past.
Who walked here on sacred ground?
What foundations lie under
that coffee shop all birch and glass?
You may see
a piece of broken railing,
the bronze of a sword.
This step led to an open door –
kettle’s on, teacake still warm –
a girl, flaming hair and rough linen.
The open space above you
was a window:
a woman called children to dinner;
there, that corner,
a man waited for a lover
who never arrived.
Take a minute.
In the blank spaces
look into the light:
you can see footprints, a torn letter in the wind,
a field of buttercup and burdock,
willowherb and silverweed
underneath the paving.
Watch your step, consider
what marks the trail you leave behind.
Lynn Caldwell’s work has been published in The Irish Times for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award; Dedalus Press’s anthology WRITING HOME; FLARE; and The Antigonish Review, and has featured on Irish radio’s Sunday Miscellany. She was a runner up in Aesthetica’s Creative Writing Award 2017, has a BA in creative writing from the University of Victoria, Canada and blogs at http://kennedystreet.wordpress.com.
Featured Image Daniele Idini.