A man and a woman lie sleeping
in a narrow twin bed
in a cheap Connemara inn.
It might be late summer.
Three poppies bloom
in a paper cup on the windowsill.
The man sits up and cries,
It’s not the same!
This is not the love Yeats felt for Maud Gonne!
It’s not even close.
The woman covers her eyes; that was just his terror
on waking in a strange country.
Her arms enfold his neck. I know. It’s all right.
She drops her arms to her sides.
Blue sky, blue sky outside.
White wings beat against the window,
a beady eye looks in, and is gone.
Somebody needs to fix this, he says,
kicking the flat tire on their rented Cortina.
She sips coffee from a paper cup,
same cup that held the poppies.
I’ll be over there, she replies,
pointing to a tea shop.
Crossing the street, icy wind blows
against her legs. Soon, she can no longer
see him, nor can he find her—
they’ve gone, like words erased from a page.
And suddenly it’s fall–20 years have passed.
The woman spreads her arms wide.
What did I leave behind in that room, she wonders.