Mary Noonan

Night Traffic

For Matthew



That December night, she raced down the unlit path
to the frost-covered gate, shouting to him to hop across,
to duck and dive in the traffic and he called back that he
ran the risk of being flattened by cars, by the black stream
flowing between them. But the rush-hour and the dark
and the shouting and the wind and rain were not enough
to run him, with his two bags, into the next parish
and he landed in the yellow hallway, in the bright kitchen,
brushing sleet from his jacket and dust from a bottle and
words into the oak of the table. Into the candle-flame went
talk of Mexico City and the high-wire circus of Budapest
and the German outposts of Transylvania and the lure
of pepper (chilli, paprika) and three bottles of French wine
and the touch of his hands. Stepping from the taxi now,
she looks across at the icy gate, at the blacked-out eyes
of the houses beyond, glimpses a flickering presence
peering too, pondering the plunge into night-time traffic.

Mary Noonan
“Night Traffic” first appeared in Blackbox Manifold, Issue 6, 2011.