About the poet
Colette Bryce was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, and lived in London for many years before...
at the one significant lamppost, just to be sure
(if you’re late where’s the harm?),
and are tracing the cut of the maker’s name in raised print
softly ticking where it stands on the corner
shop. Not that you had expected it to stop.
At worst, all you’ll get from the teacher is a good ticking
it will be soon, this metal panel with its neat square print
in a wild cacophony of colour. A car takes the corner
as you start to cross and the driver’s face imprints
itself on your mind forever, a whitened mask, as he stops
and quickened ticking
haven’t you been told how to cross a road? This corner
of alcohol on her too-close breath. Then the ticking
of a wheel, as a man on a bicycle slows to a stop,
talking in her ear, ‘It’s alright Mary. Yes, yes, I am sure.’
you wait, frozen by the lamppost, the lettering print-
ing ridges in your palm, until you run at last to the opposite corner
in your head, her notion of harm
and the thought of her daughter, unable to stop
forever on the corner where the woman’s world has stopped.
from Self-Portrait in the Dark (Picador, 2008), © Colette Bryce 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher
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