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Poem of the Week: Walk on By

A new work by Katie Donovan

(for Jamie)

My aunt brought the song
to our lonely house,
it lived on a thin disc
that came alive in a box.
Dionne’s haunting voice
was actually her,
I was convinced, and so,
after she left us
to return to London,
I would stand beside
the gramophone
calling her name,
as the damp days unspooled
in a dull parade.

It would be months before
she’d come to Wexford again
and my mother’s face would change.
Together they’d fill our dingy kitchen
with laughter, and the glossy tossing
of dark hair. I’d hide my eyes
and hear the tinkle of a bell
to herald the fairy’s gift –
a surprise they would concoct
from oddments in hand’s reach.

Now she’s alone, my mother
has walked on. Just an echo left
of the fun they had, the furious fights.
The tie that would never unknot.

Today’s poem is from Katie Donovan’s new collection, May Swim (Bloodaxe). Other collections include Watermelon Man (1993), Entering the Mare (1997), Day of the Dead (2002), Rootling: New & Selected Poems (2010), and Off Duty (2016)