Fred Johnston

WHAT GOOD

We don’t talk about it now
but love was like that, then
between the scabrous desk and steel-nibbed pen
we drew a small thing in the air
though we couldn’t quite read the scribble there
it was a form of magic anyhow.

The age of in-between and
neither here nor there, it was
the adolescent heart’s banter, indefinite article, pause
he carried my bag, I hefted his books
down a long street angeled by crows and rooks
over a red-brick invisible city; we’d land

At a bus-stop with nothing to say ‒
others felt similar strangeness, had we known ‒
a rite of passage; by term’s end we’d outgrown
such ambiguity, got sense, found girls, matured:
might we meet in our new old age, death-assured
united in some waiting-room, loveless as an X-ray ?

Fred Johnston is an Irish poet, novelist, literary critic and musician. He is the founder and current director of the Western Writers’ Centre in Galway. Johnston is author of four novels, eight collections of poetry. He was Writer-in- Residence to the Princess Grace Irish Library at Monaco. He wrote and broadcast for RTE Radio 1 a four-part series on the literary history of the West of Ireland.

Fred Johnston is an Irish poet, novelist, literary critic and musician. He is the founder and current director of the Western Writers’ Centre in Galway. Johnston is author of four novels and eight collections of poetry. He was Writer-in- Residence to the Princess Grace Irish Library at Monaco. He wrote and broadcast for RTE Radio 1 a four-part series on the literary history of the West of Ireland.