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Poems

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Warning Shots


When you live on the edge
of an ocean, you cannot pretend
you did not see it coming.
 
The leaves are still, birds
chatter, the sea is a sheet
of steel. But out west
 
where last night the sun
left a sky illumined
like stained glass
 
dirt heaps up,
someone else’s dustpan
emptied on your doorstep
 
and a magpie
rattling gunfire
at first light.
 
First published in Cyphers and subsequently in Of Birds and Bones (Arlen House, 2014)

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Left Luggage

 

This morning I woke with seawater
in my mouth. My eyes felt rinsed,
like after crying, my veins were
scoured, my limbs wrung out.
I was beached on a fogbound bed.
Adrift. Missing the aquatics.
 
Nothing is lost, just out of reach.
Everything that ever was, is –
somewhere – if only we can
get there, find the key, remember
the encrypted PIN, be brave enough
to jump. Know how to swim.
 
If only our feet have not been bound
at birth, our wings trimmed back
like wicks to suit our mothers, or
cobbled to a gooey mess by fathers,
confusing the discrete powers of
son and sun, deluded and controlling.
 
As long as no-one changed the locks
along the way and didn’t tell us, or
dropped the keys or, worse still, built
a breeze block wall – a suicide bunker –
performing hara-kiri on our dreams. Left
bag and baggage rotting on the floor.
 
This morning I was reminded
by a taste of salt that we do not waste
those supine hours spent sprawled
unconscious in an oarless bed;
that we are all at sea, our time well spent
diving, back and back, to unpick locks, find home.
 
First published in The Stinging Fly and subsequently in World Without Maps (Arlen House, 2011)

 


 
Making a Fist

 i m Jamal Khashoggi 1958-2018

 Fingers never looked so beautiful as mine,
flexing to support a plain black pen
poised to make the shapes required
to convey a sickened sense of horror
on learning how a man had all his digits
severed, was slowly done to death, dismembered
and disposed of god knows where.


Never have four fingers and a thumb appeared
so precious, no pen as strong as mine. I angle
the age-old weapon like a dart, watch as
black gloved ink flows down the page in measured
curlicues, tempered by the teamwork of my hand.
Until the work is done and ten frail fingers rest
helpless on the blackened page, like fists undone.


First published in The Irish Times, 12/09/20, and subsequently in Mute/Unmute(Arlen House, 2020)

 


 Poems by Geraldine Mitchell at Poethead

Poems by Geraldine Mitchell in Southword