Mary Noonan

Bright Day

There is a sea of people
in the church the ceilings are high
I have made the long walk
to the golden railings on my spindly legs
in my white Communion shoes and socks.
The crowd pushes to the big swing doors.
Outside it’s a bright, bright day
the white sun flashes at me and I want
to fall, the cough I was keeping
at the back of my throat starts to bark.
My mother looks at me, at my white face
at the black rings circling my eyes
she has a question on her face.
She stretches out her arm, her hand
cups my elbow, her other hand clasps
my wrist – helping me across the road.
The sun’s daggers are flicking
at cars as they pass. My spiky elbow
rests in my mother’s cupped hand
in the soft pads. Her roly-poly fingers
press through the nylon of my white
summer cardigan, the elbow folds
into the blanket of her hand.
From elbow to wrist, she holds the long bone,
carries it across the road.

Mary Noonan
“Bright Day” first appeared in Blackbox Manifold, Issue 6.