Womb Room by Oisín Byrne

Out of Sequence
by Patricia Byrne

Last night, my second-born said,
last night I was awake
for a long time
and when I did sleep,
he said,
I dreamt that a number was missing
from the sequence.

On our last day at school,
he said,
when we all stood together for the school photo,
Peter whispered, now lads, when I say the word,
I want you all to move
together
and drive your man crazy.

They moved together,
all together,
that last day
in perfect unison
not knowing
that on another day
one among them
would step out of line
to fall through the air.

And now, my second-born says,
now I’m afraid to sleep,
I’m afraid of the lost number
going round and round
in my head, out of sequence
like last night.