Foot Patrol, Fermanagh

Tom Paulin

A pierrepoint stretch, mid-afternoon;
the last two go facing back
down the walled street below the chestnuts
this still claggy Sabbath.
They hold their rifles lightly, like dipped rods,
and in a blurt of sunshine
the aluminium paint on the customs shed
has a dead shine like a text
brushed onto basalt.
It’s not that anything will happen next
in this hour that is as constant
as sin, and as original,
though why is it they remind me
of a prisoner led singing down a corridor
to a floor that isn’t a floor any longer?