Gerry Boland

In The Space Between

ISBN: 9781851321339


like a magician he kept his cards up his sleeve
and like an illusionist he was unreadable

he lived in an exercise yard of the mind
bending occasionally to pick up a shard
of ancient pleasure, hold it up to the light

no one who knew him claimed to know him
beyond that smile he would let hang in the air
like a nineteenth-century levitator practicing his craft
before an awe-struck audience, only to deflate
their wonder in a neatly choreographed collapse

at such times
– his mischievous smile wrong-footing us –
we would be complete again
the rabbit back in the hat

once when we were abandoned for a year
the air that he left behind all but suffocated us –
his absence more poisonous than his presence
we breathed him in
spent poets walking towards the cliff face

we didn’t know it then but he was the black cards
in the deck, who shuffled our small lives
as we played fearlessly aboard the wreck