The Labour Mart


in rooms you sadden, or stretch, in the rooms of our solitude

and touched, maybe, with a butterfly-coloured crisis

fountaining from the crown. a green tea assuages

the blueness of veins. there is calm to intellectually cross

bridges—engineered of finesse—to where who you are

finds itself in new companies of caring thaumaturges

tapping compositions on keys for you to learn

how keys are keys in and out of customary cells


in rooms you have no say, negatively capable,

even as you spy on a green-tabarded builder

crossing the scaffold along the opposite semi-detached house

confidently, in a white helmet. he can see you

also. his task is not literary or alchemical

but in dreams he builds an upside-down pyramid

balancing on its tip, spinning like a top

as you’ve laid words menially as bricks.

your consciousnesses have intermingled. he works in the sun

cutting a black bin-liner into squares for his colleague

squatting behind the chimney, drilling, fixing tiles


they move about the roof’s slant with a panther’s agility

in the few hours of daylight left to them, unprecious.

they won’t – they can’t – be there by night. even if you look

the men in their decades will disappear.

work if you can




Niall McDevitt

Graphic by Elena Caldera

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