January 4th, 2016 Aubade

by Brendan Strong

The six AM streets – I mean street –
Of Kilcullen, Co Kildare. I walk to the bus under a light so dun:
Disturbing a scatter of cats as they hear my feet,
Too late for street lights, too early for the sun.

I am a middle-aged version of a Tom Waits song:
Leaving Ruby’s Arms – or those of my wife – for work,
The children sleep so peacefully. It seems wrong
To leave the house to catch the bus for Dublin of the berserk.

We nod – the others and I – in recognition.
A couple of us strain a “Happy new year”.
We say nothing to the unknown faces going to their digs,
And their fancy youthful lives of city-living cheer.

We will leave this morning to return tonight:
After we hunt and gather some project work
That will pay our bills to sustain our fight,
Wherever it is that we dare not lurk.