Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Suddenly Last Sunday

All week, I’ve been trying to hold everything

This sadness — it started suddenly last Sunday
and I spent Monday, 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, wondering
where it came from. Is it grief?

Is it worry about my silent friend? 
Is it distance? Is it New York? Is it winter? 

And the sadness answers in dirty snow, and sirens,
in masks and fights and strange weather.

It is as annoying as God saying:
I just am

and I can’t bear it. A friend, far away, texts and asks
Are you okay?

I reply No, I’m not okay. She phones. 
Who can bear it? she says. 

No one, certainly not all the time. 
I hear my neighbour opening her door.

My radiator hisses. 
I look outside, 

an old man — leaning on a bright red walker — 
is crossing Second Avenue very slowly. 

For once, no-one beeps. People wait.
There’s a snowstorm forecast later.

Lights go red and green, and red
again. Taxis creep along the lanes.

PÁDRAIG Ó TUAMA hosts Poetry Unbound and edited Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your Life. Profiled by The New Yorker, with work in Poetry Ireland, The Kenyon Review and others, his recent collection is Feed the Beast (Broken Sleep).