The ash thickening and the bright eyeof the fire dulling with the hushand creak of cinders.
A closed room. No sudden chill.The clock rounds its silent hourswith minutes that don’t flinch or sound.
Almost dark.One hand reaches for the latch and stays;the stiff heart turns on a question.
You couldn’t remember the silt-quiet room below the fieldor the way he took his hat from his head and put a hand to his neck;the dust-soft road outside the village.
How he downed tools for the day and lay beneath a lintel of dreams,his mouth a little open, his eyes no longer heavy—you, this sun-ember on the whitest part of his flesh.
Broken daylight and the wind singing,the sun in threads can’t reach these stone-dense hills or the rain-fed lake,it is a charmless fool’s gold. [End Page 323]
This settling and unsettling, cold takingto the skin like lime, white clouds workingthemselves loose, began with a lapse,grey and undefined.
Now quieter, away from the lake, tuckedbetween grass and a shallow river, swiftrenderings of green and earth-rich amber;
a humble brilliance in the cold that’s still here:this shy-startle and glide of goldfinches,small fires bringing live coal and jasper.
No trill.A seed-light nod of the head—heedless, but not.
Lime-white bell shapes,pane-exact and botanicalas a May morning.
Uninterrupted woodlandsurrounds youand you’re standing up,
this dress you wear:a slip falling to the groundinside out. [End Page 324]
Michelle O’Sullivan was born in Chicago in 1972 and grew up in County Sligo. She has a BA and MA from the University of Hertfordshire. Her first collection The Blue End of Stars, recently award the dlr Strong/Shine Poetry Award for best first collection, was published by Gallery Press in 2012. She lives in County Mayo.