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

fiction

February 2013

The Currency of Paper

Alex Kovacs

fiction

February 2013

‘Labour is external to the worker, i.e. it does not belong to his essential being; that in his work,...

feature

Issue No. 2

Gay Madonnas in Montevergine: The Feast of Mamma Schiavona

Annabel Howard

feature

Issue No. 2

We are crowded into the medium-sized piazza before the sanctuary of Montevergine. There is no town or village; it...

poetry

April 2014

MUEUM

SJ Fowler

poetry

April 2014

Since I have worked at the mueum I have published, and I have written 486 pems. I have seen...