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SEEDS/Catherine MacCarthy (for Roger and Siobhari) My father's hands scatter grain, freckled, giant, as I stumble after him watching his palms cast from a jute sack this way and that as if he's performing a rite. And what I wonder about is how he measures out the ground and how he knows how thick and fast to plant as he paces forward and where exactly it lands? The Bible warns against stones. What about the birds already having a feast as they flock and lift treating our harrowed space as if it were Christmas? He's unconcerned about stones and it's important to cater for the birds. They'll soon have enough. As for the seeds I watch them sprout delicate ribby greens against the rainy earth and rise over months to a deep aquamarine that glistens and runnels under the breeze. Avid to catch the split second the colours change I play hide and seek vanish and appear, 54 · The Missouri Review eye to eye with ripening grain stilled by a tide shifting the field and close my eyes to listen as the harvest turns golden. Catherine MacCarthy The Missouri Review · 55 DELUGE/Catherine MacCarthy In the house next door are two small boys. They throw Beanie Babies across the fence and shout their names and call for someone to throw them back. I sit quiet with a book pretending not to exist as animals rain but they have climbed onto a ledge and spied a patch of dress through the lattice and red roses that bloom all round a gap in the hedge. Already there are lions, elephants, penguins, and several species of reptile looking sad. "Here's Amber," they holler undeterred. A striped cat lands at my feet. Two pairs ofbrown eyes observe. "Would you like to keep him?" They smile as I pick up the cat. Amber is soft, enough to take me off guard. More Beanies shower the fence. The boys are yelling and it's time for bed but from their incessant voices, I can hear that exhaustion is a deluge flooding the land, their parents are already drowned and I am beginning to understand what Noah in the ark must have felt: I am their only chance and my garden is the last high island left. 56 · The Missouri Review THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY/Catherine MacCarthy He slips out the back gate with a young woman, fair hair, pouting lips and long ethnic skirts, an old man with keys in his hand, his bald head turned to check the lie of the land, that one backward glance cautious as the bushy-tailed red fox whose eyes met mine in our garden after rain one November afternoon in a deluge of green between leaf fall and sunshine before he turned to light again high on the boundary wall. The Missouri Review · 57 ISLAND OF MSRACLES/Catherine MacCarthy Forty degrees. Not a soul on the beach. I began to dream of rain as we lay in our shuttered room, blood growing thin, of standing out in a field drenched to the skin, tongue out drinking as it poured down, of falling to my knees before the heavens. We sped north and east, the hot wind from Africa burning our heels, rose with the road, with our fear, the breath of an angry god through mountains above a ravine round Kera Pass, you could no longer steer and our bike was a trembling reed. I turned my face from the precipice as you steadied the wheel in that land of the mother goddess, and drove at full throttle. I could feel our lives in our hands, then mercy of the elements as we flew to the plain of a thousand springs where the gale ceased by the cave ofbaby Zeus, and we glimpsed the shadow of an eagle floating downstream. Catherine MacCarthy's first collection, 77f£s Hour ofthe Tide, was published in 1994, and her second, The Blue Globe, in 1998. "Word ofMouth," a third collection, is near completion. She was awarded Arts Council bursaries for poetry in 1994 and 1998. Her poems have been published in anthologies and reviews...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 54-58
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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