The swallows on his hands

He had appeared from nowhere Alone I was ‘Are you waiting for da bus?’ a frail old man was standing above me wailing in Irish The first thing I noticed was rosary beads gripped tightly around two hands like chains on the soft wrinkly curve between thumb and forefinger on each was a small tattoo of a faded swallow I watched the dip and dive of rosary beads sliding frantically