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

poetry

October 2012

Saint Anthony the Hermit Tortured by Devils

Stephen Devereux

poetry

October 2012

  Sassetta has him feeling no pain, comfortable even, Yet stiffly dignified at an odd angle like the statue...

Art

October 2015

Licence to Play

Thirza Wakefield

Art

October 2015

In his 1992 essay ‘In Search of the Centaur’, the writer and critic Phillip Lopate described the essay-film as...

fiction

Issue No. 18

Don't Give Up the Fight

Osama Alomar

TR. C. J. Collins

fiction

Issue No. 18

  DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT   While cavorting in a field, the wild horse felt overjoyed to see...

 

Get our newsletter

 

* indicates required