Niall McArdle

A Terrible Vast Promise

Niall McArdle

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Is the dull umber light in the window across from me

the eye of a slumbering, ravaged beast,

the last of its kind, maybe,

that before its final breath could yet unleash

the strength to reach over,

and claw at me, or grasp the sill

and yoke these houses together,

bringing us both down with the rubble?

I’ll keep back, then, holding myself to the floor

and fix my gaze on the dirt on the glass.

and wonder if that light will always be there

waiting for me, a terrible vast promise,

or will I see it fade and grow smaller

like the guttering of a votive perched

in the path of a draft through the door

of an empty, cold church?

Inspired by Despair by Victoria Patterson

Niall McArdle

Niall McArdle is a writer and critic from Dublin. He writes about arts and culture for His work has appeared in the Irish Times, Spontaneity and Phoenix Irish Short Stories and broadcast on RTÉ Radio, and is forthcoming in Banshee. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Awards and the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition. He is currently completing his first novel.