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P.W Bridgman: a poem


You protect your face against a sudden gust of rain

with the silk scarf that I found for you in Vicenza,

all those years ago, in that market stall

where that tiny agèd woman, poverina,

watched us closely.

She took my money, then returned it, refused it,

saying she had never seen two

quite like us.

I thanked her.

You held the scarf to your face then, too.

And she took your hands in hers.

It was a kind of benediction,

a moment chaste and holy. Profondo.

We say now that it was then

that we knew:

before my asking,

before your assent.

As we left her stall, she whispered

(more to herself than to us):

Ho visto solo un amore così

una volta prima.*

She really said that.

And we believed her.

* I have seen a love like this only once before.

P.W. Bridgman’s third and fourth books – Idiolect (poetry) and The Four-Faced Liar (short fiction) –were published in 2021 by Ekstasis Editions. A fifth – a novella-in-verse entitled Deliverance, 1961: A Novella in Thirty-two Cantos – is forthcoming from Pooka Press in 2023. Bridgman’s writing has appeared in, among others, The Moth Magazine, The Glasgow Review of Books, Skylight 47, The High Window, Litro, The Honest Ulsterman, One Hand Clapping, The Galway Review, The High Window, The Canadian Poetry Review, the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies and The Maynard.

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