I worked three days in the local shop
to make the criteria for a mortgage.
Sometimes, I told the customers
about my doctorate.
It was involuntary, but I always regretted it.
After all, everyone has to jump their hurdles.
What does it matter if you’re a middle-aged shop girl?
What does it matter if you have a poem in The Rialto?
Failure and success shake together like oil and vinegar.
To speak of either is always unpalatable to someone.
To say I am only managing to house myself.
To say ‘man dwells poetically.’
I turn off the lamps and stand in the light of a dwindling fire.
My shadow slants across the wall and ceiling.
One day, I’ll take my place among the ghosts of this house.
I stretch out my dark arms in practice.
Rachel Coventry is a Galway-based poet. Her poems appear in The Guardian, The Rialto, The North, Stand, and The Moth. Her second collection, The Detachable Heart (Salmon Poetry), was published in 2022. Her monograph Heidegger and Poetry in the Digital Age: New Aesthetics and Technologies (Bloomsbury) will be published in December.
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