LADY IN A LOUNGE, 8.17 P.M. • by David Murphy


After-workers gone home to their spouses,

those out for the night have yet to appear.

Dining-out drinkers long since departed,

après-show tipplers not yet on the scene.


That brooding quietness, alone with

her thoughts at the end of the bar –

watching, awaiting her man to walk in.


She sips a Shiraz, no TV blares

– what a pleasure these days (pleasure, she sighs)

– nothing to do but dangerous thinking;

chinking, clinking of countless drinks

on timeless counters – when was

the last time she waited like this?

Not once has she cheated –

her husband at work or out with a friend.


Checks her watch, inspects her surroundings;

subdued red lampshades: suitable

cover for whispering couples half-hid

– illicit, complicit – in horseshoe alcoves.

Not many wedding rings if

she dared look at secrets in snugs.


Reflections high and low – of her, of here –

in a brewer’s mirror: a woman

in a dress ten inches too short,

quarter century too late,

squeezes her toy-boy’s hand.


She stops peeking in mirrors, self-chiding

her sniggering: who am I to judge?

The barman smiles, gathers up empties,

his blue eyes plop frissons of ice in her glass.

She shifts, shuddering, could she,

would she, should she go home?


The door swings open.

A death-wall rider revs up in her heart.

She knows, without looking, that he has come in.




David Murphy’s earlier poems, in English and Irish, were published in various magazines. His most recent poetry has appeared in Stony Thursday Book, Revival, Boyne Berries, Poetry Bus and other venues. He is also a short story writer and novelist. Visit his website at

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LADY IN A LOUNGE, 8.17 P.M. • by David Murphy, 1.8 out of 5 based on 11 ratings
Posted on July 19, 2013 in Poems, Romance
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  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Wonderful texture, cadence, rhythm. But I don’t understand the last three lines re: death wall rider.

  • Patricia

    I thought this was great, the second last line was a really surprising and effective way of capturing a sense of excitement and danger. To me I imagined one of those stunt bike riders on a scrambler riding around at high speed inside a metal cage – although I could be way off the mark!

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