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NEW POEMS 68 PEGGY O’BRIEN from ANNAGHMAKERRIG I The Room Who do you think you are sleet spat Against the pane with characteristic Originality and what do you think You’re doing here her husband swayed As much as saying give it up. I have been chosen, I am staying, Hibernating at this heady Latitude. Please, just go away And let me linger, seep like daylight, Gnaw like nightmare at the afternoon. This will be my sleeping chamber Where tomorrow I will wake To color, someone else’s scheme: Gray, wine, navy, tangerine, Chartreuse, harmonies unknown, And lace floating on a film Like breath on glass, mahogany So polished with another’s tears The doily is a face in it, A face, perhaps, from Carrickmacross. NEW POEMS 69 I am not worthy, I intone, And rub a long, doubting finger Dustless over marble. Silver frames Prop lives up on the mantle, two maids In muslin mobcaps rutched with giggles. II Whose Bright Idea Was This Anyway? It isn’t perfect. What A bitch. If it isn’t One thing, say I, it’s Another. I have lighting Problems. There is no Outlet where I need An outlet, no extension Cord, a lamp that will not Work for me. I tug A forelock, beg a bulb Off Mary, sulk back up The kitchen stairs in dimness, Sigh, try, try Again. No action. Shit. It will not budge. I click The switch but there is still No magic. It’s defying Me with quiet like this room. I walk for miles, slurry And manure marrying With toxins as anonymous As how we’ll die, sluicing Down the gravel runnels Of the road, silage NEW POEMS 70 Ravaging my nostrils. I did not come here for this, I sniff, some oasis. My pastoral I guess Is fucked. Then I look up, A perfect baby’s bottom Of a Solus light bulb Sitting on a hedge, whins Pruned brutally to bone. It’s Humpty Dumpty winking On his wall. It’s all A joke; you must have got Your wires crossed. III Hearth and Home Sticks and stones. There is an art To this. I learned it in a barren House. Here there is as much As you can eat and more Firelighters, creamy parallelograms Crumbling like blue cheese, a rush Basket big as a hottub brimming With dry kindling, logs freshly Split, the flesh as firm and green As apple meat or almonds. Energy Requires design, a nest for quick Ignition then a pyramid of wood. Whoosh. Geometry And incense like forgotten dreams. The black Ingots laid like years around the pyre Of pure potential. Fuel Is fished from midnight Waters in the bin below. DiveBombing choppy seas by moonlight, NEW POEMS 71 Gutturally scudding metal over stone. You fill Your belly more and more with every suicidal Run. Mission accomplished. It’s the rhythm did it. Scything. It’s like scything. Planting Feet on cold cement, bending At the waist, then swinging From the shoulders as though coal Were wheat and the wood Basket too like water Rising to a level in the garden Tank will be replenished. I don’t know who to thank. My cup runneth over. IX At Your Service It was better than being pregnant or crazy: tiptoes Whispers, smiles, a retinue of mothers Leaving me free to wander corridors Embossed with words, flocked with innuendo. I refused, however, every knock, hand, voice Beseeching me. I cleaned like a maniac My own room, sweat staining the antimacassars And the anemic pages that needed exercise. This is the art I’d never learned to others’ Satisfaction, down on my knees in dirt, In regular, rhythmic motions exposing guilt, Using a toothbrush to get into the cracks and corners. NEW POEMS 72 I spurn all effort made on my behalf. Every hair for my sake out of place, frowns Lining faces as I write, all the fallen Arches and beyond the wall the muffled laughter. An anorexic of the senses I aspire To an innocence as thin as a page in profile, As blank as the face of my unspeakable vileness, Laboring for starched, impeccable order. Nothing can be...


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