Órla Foyle – I Saw Beckett The Other Day


I saw Beckett the other day
in the doorway of that café
where you took his photograph.

You know the one
when he looked up at the lens
and realised how he could
haunt us all.

‘Hey Beckett,’ I said
rejoicing in my discovery of him;
his hand on the door, his eyes
skimming over the interior image
of cigarette smoke and coffee.

I stood beside him. He rubbed his face so
he might recognise me. I smiled and
said even I didn’t know what was
happening these days.
Even I could not stop the end.

He nodded, coughed and looked sly; his teeth were
yellow over the pink of his lips.
He mentioned the photograph. He said his face
had collected worms under the skin as if ready for
death and he smiled to show them dance
spasmatic with age-spots and veins.

Someone entered the café. Someone left.
Beckett touched the hair above my ear.
I stood on tip-toe so he could whisper down.
He said nothing. It was just a kiss
with the cold wind at our feet and the
smoke and egg friendly air
released in draughts between
the opening and the closing of the café door;

which he stepped through to find his table
and entered some other world,
under greasy lights
coupled with table shine and coffee cups,
and thoughts of death, where she stood
groomed for an entrance, were held back
by the odd moments of life
that stills strung the useful breaths
Beckett used to blow his coffee cool.

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Orla Foyle
Órla Foyle was born to Irish parents in Nigeria, Africa and has also lived in Kenya, Malawi and Australia. She now lives in Galway, Ireland. Her first novel "Belios" was published in 2005 by The Lilliput Press. Her poetry collection "Red Riding Hood’s Dilemma" was published by Arlen House (2010). Arlen House also published Foyle’s two short fiction collections "Somewhere in Minnesota" (2011) and "Clemency Browne Dreams of Gin" (2015). Her work has been published in The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, and The Manchester Review and in the Wales Arts Review. She is represented by Ivan Mulcahy of MMB Creative https://mmbcreative.com/agency/ Her website is https://rlafoylewriter.com/ Her Twitter page is ÓrlaFoyle@FoyleOrla