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Through the cracks

In memory of Shane “Jack” Watson d. September 2017

 

Nobody could grasp how it happened: After

he moved back, he just fell through the cracks.

Australia was fine but he longed to come home, 

found himself sleeping rough round Liberty Hall, 

 

falling into fissures of the pavement, mulchy smells

of bitter nights, slick of leaves in gutters, frayed duvets 

donated by strangers. Should’ve stayed Down Under,

he must have muttered to the Big Dipper, missing 

 

the envoi of the Southern Cross as he slid deeper 

into crevices, became the revenant that evanesced 

through shadowy tectonic clefts. No one could fathom how

he slipped down a chasm: left no tracks, fell through cracks.

from Conditional Perfect (Doire Press, 2019)

blind spots

Everyone has their own scotoma.

Even Newton toyed with alchemy.

The great vivisector, Aristotle,

toppled by the common eel.

Heidegger clung to fascism,

Schopenhauer to sexism.

Sackville-West believed

the Nile flowed backward.

I hope my own conviction

is not my Achilles heel.

In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013)

COPING

Because I had a vivid dream

I could telephone you in Heaven,

somewhere my brain believes it’s true;

delusion is a kind of redemption.

 

My conscious mind habituated to

our almost-daily conversation,

my unconscious has found a line

to sustain our cellular connection.

published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, 12 Nov. 2022

Last Drops

And on the seventh day   

I clamp the silicone satellite dish 

over my nipple again, 

aim for suction, 

pump the trigger 

of this blunderbuss

just shy of my heart.

 

I know before I begin, 

it will barely reach an ounce.

I have not done 

the homework set: 

express every four hours, 

ten minutes on each

to build up supply.

 

Easy to say, but when 

the otherwise calm 

infant cries, doesn't 

want to root despite 

all tricks in the book, 

like nipple shields 

and I’m already making

formula with body aching

after minimal sleep.

 

My aureole weeps 

its final drops, 

last chance to nurse, 

infuse my boy 

with so-called liquid gold.

The chill of reality circles me.

 

I lay the device aside, 

reach for his little bottle. 

Done.

published in The Stony Thursday Book, Winter, 2016

I AM HAWTHORN

published on The Milk House

can be read here

Lunchtime, Undone

A tangle of instant noodles

compressed into a packet,

heart suddenly saddens.

 

With my fork, I unravel

the knotted hair 

of an old sea siren.

 

I never heard the banshee.

published in The Honest Ulsterman, Feb. 2022

Darn

We mend what we love.

 

After ten fruitless minutes

of squinting through spectacles

to thread through the miniscule

eye of a needle, I delve 

 

deeper into my sewing kit 

for one with a larger slit,

backstitch into the fray 

where the tear begins,

start to patch a white petal 

on my black floral dress.

 

I feel like Dorothy Wordsworth 

who devoted hours to darning 

and transcribing, darning and

transcribing as image and

 

rhythm unspooled 

but no doubt she was neat 

where my effort is crude. 

Now I spot that I forgot 

 

to turn the cloth inside-out.

published in Drawn to the Light 6, Feb. 2022

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