Steve Denehan, Talk Of The After

The Death Of Antoni Gaudí

I killed him
I killed the greatest architect in the history of Spain

I am a tram driver
or rather
I was a tram driver
it was just another day
a day that would end with Antoni Gaudí stepping beneath my wheels

I wonder if you know that he was an old man
his life of brilliance and glory behind him
that I was a young man humbly finding my way
I wonder if you know that he was about to step forward
under the wheels of a different tram
driven by a different driver
before noticing it with a fright
and stepping back
beneath mine

I watched it happen, calmly, in real time
I reacted quickly
I did my job
but the tram
the tram is a cumbersome beast and slow to stop

he looked like a beggar you know, dishevelled, unkempt
while I, I was dressed proudly in my uniform
the tram jumped as it rolled over him

I wonder if you know that nobody cared
that nobody wanted to help that beggar,
that I was the person who cradled his head in my hands
who looked into his blinking eyes and tried to soothe him
I wonder if you know that it was me who pleaded with the policeman
to take him to the hospital
that nobody cared for that beggar

until, three days later, as he lay in the pauper’s hospital
and was recognised
they cared then
and they sought me out
the murderer of Gaudí

I was an architect too you know

of a family
look at my beautiful wife pretending not to hear the whispers at the market
look at my two boys who suffer daily vitriol
whose fists they’ve thrown in defence and anger
because of me
and him

years pass and I sit in my wicker chair
birds chirp outside but I do not join them
there is no point
I am a man, the man that killed Antoni Gaudí

I have no wings to fly


I cling to my parents
with all of me
maybe, because they were not meant to be mine
and I was not meant for them
they talk of wills now
of inheritance
of the after

how can I explain to them
that I have already inherited
all that matters, so
there is no need
for them to go

yet, of course, that day will come
moon after moon will come tumbling down
and we will come together
to celebrate
to mourn
to wallow in finality

please, leave me be that day
save your platitudes
deliver your sympathy elsewhere
just leave me in the corner of the room
the light is softer there

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. His recent publication credits include Better Than Starbucks, Fowl Feathered Review, Dual Coast, The Opiate, Sky Island Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Evening Street Review, The Folded Word, Ink In Thirds, Crack The Spine, The Cape Rock, Visions International, and Third Wednesday. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and his chapbook Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong is available from Fowlpox Press.

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