In the Market (Another Galway poem)

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In the Market

The lad behind the stall
sells me garlic and early potatoes.
He isn’t pushy so I return each week
to chat and buy.
Watching him today in baggy pants
I express amused concern
as he unloads a box of apples
and rises stiff with pain.

Eager to help and meet him,
with no stall or wall between us,
we try out simple stretches
on the grass beside the church.

He’s pleased,
it helps relaxing with the pain,
the powerful extensors of the spine
that daily hold us up
whether pulling on socks, lifting apples
or meeting with encounters on the street.

Way back helping his father
with heavy stone to build a wall;
his father had to leave both incomplete,
both waiting,
the stone waiting to become a wall,
the boy waiting at eleven
to become a man.

Loss of a father
is hard to compass at eleven,
the stone too heavy ,
but finishing the wall he grew
learning from it,
how to deny access
to his pain.

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