One on One. A poem by Nuala Roche

2010: A stranger cradles my bare
feet into a water basin. Kneeling,
he washes, dries and oils them. I assent
to his offer to kiss my naked soles.

2017: In the watch-tower
the viol player performs one on one,
within my arm’s reach. Outside, in the sun
garrulous ticket-holders are hushed. Shhhh.

2020: We wait in turn. One. One.
The tholsel bells toll the hours, announcing
our longing to be sardined into gigs,
crammed against one another, dizzily

reaching through hot bodies to press a cheek,
or a palm to the wall; a prayer of thanks.


Nuala Roche is a writer based in Kilkenny. She has published a poetry chapbook, written and produced ‘Bridie’, a one-woman play. Her first novel, completed in 2016, is a post-pandemic story set in Ireland ( as yet unpublished)..


  1. Love it! Thanks

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