share


The Humming Lady

The humming lady arrives

in a smiling orange smock

and orders from the waiter

a plate of overripe oranges,

peeling off the snowwebs

into a red-blanketed napkin.

She hums a centuries-old

Romany tune, which I half-

recognise as the fugue to

my own death (and so it

must be her own death).

Through orange mist and

beneath a brown-greying

fringe, she appears to half-

recognise both of our lives

and turns (out of politeness?)

towards an invisible volta.

Clear pearl of eye where

I thank smilingly, pleased

at the new tempo, its cheer

turbinal about the room,

unsealed maternally from

the willow of her throat.  


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

James Byrne’s most recent collection, Blood/Sugar was published by Arc in 2009. Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets (June 2012), is co-edited with ko ko thett and is the first anthology of Burmese poetry to be published in the West. Byrne is editor of The Wolf and co-editor of Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe, 2009). His poems have been translated into languages including Arabic and Burmese.  

READ NEXT

Interview

December 2013

Interview with Tess Jaray

Lily Le Brun

Interview

December 2013

In the light-filled rooms of The Piper Gallery is a painting show that features no paint. Brought together by...

fiction

November 2013

Special School

Iphgenia Baal

fiction

November 2013

Art

June 2014

Opus

Charmian Griffin

Amanda Loomes

Art

June 2014

Bound with animal fat, milk, or blood, Roman concrete is hardened over time. Less water would ordinarily mean a...