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

Prize Entry

April 2017

Abu One-Eye

Rav Grewal-Kök

Prize Entry

April 2017

He left two photographs.   In the first, his eldest brother balances him on a knee. It must be...

fiction

January 2014

Vertical Motion

Can Xue

TR. Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping

fiction

January 2014

We are little critters who live in the black earth beneath the desert. The people on Mother Earth can’t...

Interview

July 2015

Interview with Sarah Manguso

Catherine Carberry

Interview

July 2015

There’s a certain barometer of a writer’s achievement that urban readers know well: did this book cause me to...

 

Get our newsletter

 

* indicates required