Two Poems by Steve Denehan

The Day The Train Did Not Crash     

We came to a railway track
I knelt and put my ear to it hoping
to feel a coming train
instead I saw glinting in the grass
coins, a dozen or so, flat and elongated
I took them in my hand, edges sharp
somehow lighter
a treasure to a boy

my father reached into his pocket
and I felt fear rise through me
with twinkling eyes, he placed a coin on the tracks
we waited
we waited for a train to come and this time
this one time, for the coin to catch under its wheel
for the train to leave the tracks
for the roar of airborne carriages and wailing screams
we waited

the train did come and I closed my eyes
held my breath

felt my heart thump in my chest, in my throat
then watched as it snaked into the distance
oblivious
to its brush
with oblivion

I steadied my hand and picked up the coin
forever changed
it was hot, burning hot, and I clenched it in my fist until it cooled

 

Toilet Cubicle

I see my reflection in the contoured silver of the cubicle door handle
a miniature carnival mirror stretching and pulling my face
grotesquely
perfectly

hiding away from my colleagues
from a job I can no longer face
from crippling inadequacy
from tireless paranoia

“FUCK YOU” is written on the inside of the door
it brings my first real smile of the day
fuck me, fuck you, fuck us all

 the walls aren’t closing in but I swear
I can see the ceiling inch lower
and the floor begin to fall away

my daughter, five years away from being born
what would she think?
I stand up, open the cubicle door and step forward


Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin.  He has been published in The First Literary Review, Better Than Starbucks, The Opiate, Sky Island Journal and many others.  His poems are to be published in upcoming issues of Evening Street Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Folded Word, Ink In Thirds, Fowl Feathered Review and Third Wednesday and as a “microchapbook” as part of the Origami Poems Project.