i.m. my mother
...a huge mountain ‘tween my heart and tongue…
And so it is, having slain apparitions, she think she sees
that the moon is in now time.
She polishes the house with her gaze,
nurses her knuckles with her teeth,
vanishes underground again.
What she remembers is long before yesterday.
When she fnally shows him,
he touches his own lips to taste her fear
of this flooded black river
under her tongue.
The years are ripping through flesh.
What she remembers: she once took a boy’s tongue for a kiss.
Subatomic particles, sounding a law of bells.
He practises holding her face to get her to speak.
She tears through the door to stand out in the heavens.
Christ, say a word.
What she feels is a need to stand out in the garden.
What is it like, pressing a shovel
to a corner of earth, kneeling and listening?
What she remembers, as clear as blood,
is those weather-red lips saying her name.
How she saw a drunk boy wild on the back of a horse,
stars tilting back, as far as the grass.
She blows into the hollows of her palms,
whispers the Ides of March.
Glass is whistling; the sound could nail down a corpse.
In her nightgown, she watches for signs.
Ravens lurk under the stairs.
They ask her what she remembers:
floods, a dead mother, she thinks, standing in the porch.
And so it will be, having slain apparitions with her eyes,
she will walk out to the sunrise, and it will be March.
© 2020 Afric McGlinchey
Bio: A multi-award-winning poet, Afric McGlinchey’s debut, The lucky star of hidden things (Salmon Poetry, 2012) was translated into Italian (L’Arcolaio, 2016). The translation of her second collection, Ghost of the Fisher Cat, is forthcoming. A surrealist chapbook, Invisible Insane (SurVision) appeared in 2019. She has performed her work internationally, and poems have been published in over seventy journals worldwide, commissioned for a collaboration with the Irish Composers Collective, displayed in hospital, used in a Leaving Certificate Examinations Book, broadcast, and published in numerous anothologies. A book editor and reviewer, Afric lives in West Cork, Ireland, and tweets @itosha. www.africmcglinchey.com