By Edward O'Dwyer

 

Let’s say it isn’t out of your imagination

that this grinning clown has come, red-nosed

and floppy-shoed, up your driveway

to where you and your wife

are sharing the swing chair on the patio.

Let’s say this is real, happening,

and like the best of clowns, this one

is ambiguous, could be full of silly humour

and, just as easily, full of nastiness.

Let’s say he immediately produces a bouquet

of flowers from one of his never-ending pockets,

offers them to her with his perennial smile.

Let’s say she smiles, accepting them.

Should you get jealous of such a thing?

Could you lose her to him, a clown?

Is it at all possible she has always hated

your sense of humour, your failure

to be self-deprecating, to willingly be

the joke?  Is she about to tell you

it’s over; that she and the clown are together;

that he’s here to pick her up for the rest of her life?

And now, have you ever before felt so colourless

in your sensible, well-to-do clothing

from designer stores?  Let’s say, then, he pulls

a handkerchief from the same never-ending pocket,

hands it to you.  You’ve seen this part of

the act before, you know the handkerchief

goes on and on and on.  Let’s say, then, she’s gone.

 

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Edward O'Dwyer was born in Limerick in 1984, where he lives and writes poetry and short stories. His first book of poetry, The Rain on Cruise's Street (Salmon Poetry, 2014), was Highly Commended by the Forward Prizes. His second, Bad News, Good News, Bad News (Salmon Poetry, 2017), was recently published. He has also edited two anthologies for the community publisher, Revival Press - Sextet (2010) and Sextet 2 (2016). He is busy working on a third poetry collection and a collection of short stories. There is also an idea for a novel gestating at the moment.