An Old Man

By Diarmuid ó Maolalaí

our breath lays its gloves

on an old kitchen table.

takes off its hat and its

scarf. rolls it, accepting

a black cup of coffee –

walks through the kitchen

and comfortably

silent, like a man

in the home of a relative –

picking up pictures.

looking and putting

them back. the heating

has broken. it's

winter; our breath

is about. our breath

is here, standing

in front of us. we don't

speak. are rather companiable.

our breath, an old man,

watching the packing

of boxes of my late

aunt's possessions.

a new woollen coat

and a finely shaped

hat. a well-worn suit

and some well-

worn funeral shoes.