Man Walking on Monastery Road, Clondalkin, 2.15 a.m.
You knew once what it felt like to truly be loved,
To belong absolutely with another presence:
A sense so intense you grew barely aware of it.
But now you sense it acutely by its absence,
By her indifference when you lie segregated
In the cold war zones of a partitioned mattress.
You know it’s gone because you’re stricken with panic,
Invisible, bereft of worth, feeling that you do not exist
Because you no longer see yourself reflected in her iris
Enlarged by love, held secure there, made complete.
You are two commuters now who fleetingly meet
On route to the bathroom or breakfast counter.
And tonight it feels like thirty years has dissolved,
Once again you’re a youth adrift on neon-lit streets,
The young man who thought he was rescuing her,
The young man whom she rescued from loneliness,
The lost soul, exploring lanes, reluctant to turn home,
Resurrected inside the old man you’ve suddenly become.