Salaryman

I might have been fourteen
when I overheard a neighbour
talking to my mother, about how
her husband had been passed over
for a job in the bank and him by far
the best candidate. I didn’t know
what it really meant, but somehow
I looked at him in a duller light,
this man I was in awe of, partly
because they had all the stations
before us and partly because
he seemed to know the answer
to every question, his didactic commentary
a soundtrack to all our TV viewing.
I began to notice him on later buses
in the morning, his suits less sharp,
his eyes downcast and then one day
I heard he had retired early.
Walking back from football
in the park, his son explained
that he had left before the company
collapsed and was considering other offers.

 

Winner of the 2015 Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition, Maurice Devitt has been runner-up or shortlisted in Listowel, Cuirt, Patrick Kavanagh, Interpreter’s House and Cork Literary Review. He is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, chairperson of the Hibernian Writers’ Group and has just published his debut collection ‘Growing Up in Colour’ with Doire Press.