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By kind permission of Annabel Langrish

Sionnach Rua*

This brittle November night drawn taut

with winter concussion, I scope the garden

fretful for events. Brain cradling sepals fall

low, as two eyes, hard shiny and sloe diamond

pin me to the universal, the actual, the now.

I grab your eyes –  you seize mine, and sidle

into my kitchen sniffing my fare, perusing

my open notebook, marvelling at my pretensions,

curioing my sleeping children. You pad on soufflé

paws, the genetic imperative of fear and slouch

rising in the blood and then I know that you visit often

friend in the dark. O, but you are my one recurring

vision and I thought this home and land, this habitat,

was mine alone. The carelessness of the bipedal


hominid slack with casual hubris.

*Red Fox from the Irish



Collateral Damage  

August- bitter morning coffee

slops over wrist, legs and toes,

at the sudden ballistic whack of

a bird on glass.

Pain elapsed and tigering to where it lies on


cool stone, I am beaten by a year-old pup

whose mouth is soft for pheasant.

She holds the thrush smoothly,

eyes me gamely, while I hush staccato

breaths. We both know the score.

Straining every muscle, I pounce,

forcing her jaw in a flick- knife

second. Warm bird, neck broken

pillows to the ground.

Speckled feathers, sweet head,

were no matches for sheet glass illusion,

the marvel of avian construct sabotaged

by its own strange delicacy.




Since I saw the girl who does not eat,

or trade in food currency, to keep the

breath even, or the gaze straight. Since

then. Since then ago to now, I cannot

bear to watch a robin hopping nervously

on skinny legs, or jaunting around the

patio, perilously balanced.

Averting my eyes from the bird, I think

of her. No part of her was right. I wondered

if when she crossed her clanking legs, she felt

her skeletal reality, but there was no room in

her for thoughts. None. Her spider web being

flushed all joy from me that day. How heavy her

head must be, I thought.



Beauty in Things Alone


After Johann C. Riedel                                                                                                                                                                          

Eating glass, breaking it

down with mouth juice

the thinnest pieces are

hardest to manoeuvre, as

they migrate to cheek flesh

and marbled gum- the cutting

swift, deep, the between teeth

crackle pleases like no other, the

melting point – velvet





The Bone Wife

In the way- that he he arranges the chains

of lacquered wishbones across the

window, there is a deftness she idly

admires. A flick of the wrist settles

the melange into a delicate lattice

setting free the jewel colours. She

has painted each one to its contours

polishing the lacquer to a satiny

hue. Satisfied he turns to her and

they nod a complicit nod; there is

beauty in wishbones. Days later

when he is felled by a too weak and

bitter heart, she spends time with

each bone, tearing it apart. Calmly.