If this poem, like most that I write,
is a way of going back into a past
I cannot live with and by transforming that past
change the future of it, the now
of my day at the window watching
the comings and goings to Merrion Square,
then, when you present your hand to me
as fist, as threat, as weapon,
the journey back to find the hand of the little child,
the cupping of her balled fist
in my own two adult hands,
the grip of her fury, the pulse at her wrist
under the thin thin skin,
the prising loose of each hot finger
like the slow enumeration of the points of death
and the exact spot that I will have kissed
where the fate line meets the heart line—
my bloody mouth a rose suddenly blooming,
that journey takes all my strength
and hope, just as this poem does
which I present to you now.

Look! It’s spread wide open in a precise
gesture of giving, of welcome,
its fate clear and empty, like the sky,
like the blue blue sky, above the Square.