In 1654, the French philosopher Blaise Pascal’s coach was almost thrown off the bridge at Neuilly-sur-Seine. Afterwards, he became convinced that an abyss had formed on his left-hand side.

Every night I sleep alone on the left.
A lover once pushed me to the edge.
When I told him, he laughed and said
we all have our quirks. I’ve learned
to stop saying it
to friends
I am accustomed to their walking on air.
Unlike Pascal’s, mine opens to the right
and unlike him I was only a child.
I do not think there was a bridge
but I do not remember the incident
or how the world felt before it split.

Rachel Coventry’s poems have appeared in The North, The Moth, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times and The Shop, and have featured on RTE Lyric FM. She has just completed a doctorate in philosophical poetics from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her debut collection Afternoon Drinking in the Jolly Butchers (2018) is published by Salmon Poetry.

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