Peace Bridge Walk, Derry

We ambled over this white gateway
one crisp, autumnal Friday. Stretched
taut on rivets, the Peace Bridge sloped
like a folded wing. With her arm linked
through mine, it reminded me of old times

walking home in the small hours, pissed on
Snakebites and beer. The bridge’s tension,
torsion and shear, aped our own internal forces.
The sunlight stung my sister’s eyes
and I noticed her feet were mottled blue.

I could never fathom her dislike of socks.
We turned back to face the biting breeze.
Later I sat on the Guildhall steps, watched her
weave and glide with an ocelot’s grace
through stained glass doors. We strolled later

to the café by the Ferryquay Arch,
golden leaves garlanding pavements,
my throat parched from exhaust fumes and smog.
The waitress never buttered the bread
for my sandwich as chunks of egg

and beetroot fell onto the plate,
disintegration, all around.
Distracted by a singer in the corner,
her vocals drowned out our small talk,
filled the clunky silence. My sister barely touched

her lunch, struggled with each mouthful.
I knew then she’d never recover.
We never crossed the Peace Bridge again.
I stay on the city side each time I go back,
stray from the torsion and shear,

can’t bear to retrace our steps with just my own.

Lorraine Carey