A Visa

By Margaret Hickey

One harlequin day you granted me a visa:

access unlimited, no territories denied.

Proud as a viceroy I strode through your frontier,

safe as night was long and day was wide.

Our carol in unison pealed above the treescape;

like mercury we skittered in delirious dance

past guards who grinned and gave us the thumbs-up

then returned to dealing the crimson cards of chance.

Time passed in glory until - the faintest inkling -

a dust of reluctance before you met my arms.

I was a Geiger counter for any cooling

but was, thank Christ, mistaken. A lover’s fond alarms.

Today I had my visa checked by a guard I’d never seen.

Nothing to worry about, sir. Merely routine.’