Girl Wor(l)ds

Laughing about uptalk and vocal

fry, I realize, fuck! My soft daughter

is edged with razors. Impersonating

the Kardashians, but shy about showing

it off: she knows, too, satire is mean. Where

are we, us Irish? In the uproar of what is our

long-surrogate tongue. Let her back talk to

colonials old or new. Atta girl.


Listen to the evening come down. Boot clicks, gravel-
rumble under the thudthud of a leather ball. Gladioli
curls, loll on indigo fur, lamps are lit. Kids called home,
names like Evan distill the darkening air. Eavan on your
mind; this satellite village is safe, the house a capsule. Sedate,
a womb of one’s own. Float; you’re a paper cutout, earth, water
and sky. A part of this tableaux, be still. You’re home.


Storytelling lulls so he

wraps those lovely arms about

the orb of her,

mammaries, melon.

Fresh fruit swims within,

overripe clings without.

He’s mask, mask, mask.

Ingesting bounty.

Placing three aggregates, he’s calm.

She heaves

He hands in a thousand.


She pushes, bears

down. He’s lost; shrivels

fast. Fish baby, melon

surfaces, bobs.


Chattering, she is equidistant

from fresh and fallen.

For Jasper

April sun, velvet onyx, purple

heart. Valor, corage drove

into fields. Bastet’s progeny,

a ludo maniac’s angel

of death. Heady, those

days, I was another

Molly, Bray Head. Love

bombed, we took a

Hiatus, me and my basalt

Jewel, to flee to breathe,

Dog’s Bay, hearts in

damp sunless sand. Years

roll, Gold arrived, black star of

India, Serendibite, all Jewels.

Shrapnel, bets lost, lovers

later, bis, we fled West.

Bertra Beach, smooth stones

pocketed, anchored home’s

Rubble. Stones, jewels, friends.

Judy Blume is psychic

For weeks those words met

me at bus stops, on clothes

rails in shops, soap opera

credits rolled them out to me.

Fog, a bovine ornament sat

at my temples, stubborn.

The surely-male baby rolled

in my deep, disappointing,

satisfying Ma with his surely-brown eyes.

A week before nature conferred,

Fog deferred, brain to belly, readying. Words

unfurled, Eastern, Yiddish. Sheyn meydele.

Brain flowers commanded a girl child,

Oval basalt orbs, perfect

cognizance, she knew

Ma a thousand, a million.

Florica, in a University town

Rides passenger, timidly, her bag

in her lap. Inspector’s fingers tip the

wheel of the Merc, they are off to Aldi,

where she is positioned on weekday mornings.

Socks under open-toed wedge sandals in winter,

she shifts crushed velvet skirts and headscarf into

the wind’s place. Bites her cheeks, those smoother

than Inspector’s, they show no lines, none of the pock

marks of power he collects. Vacant, her dolorous eyes’

sheen of tears a conceit for shine, brighter than the

snaggle-toothed skinny aunts, who’s round at the church.

Here is better business; they giver her nappies for her little

brothers, and food. She hides it from Inspector; he watches

sometimes from beyond tinted windows. Crowds of stick

legged indolence, hungover students cover her in swathes.


You can try giving ice

cream, sit out the back, read

the Mighty Dead about Achilles

and a boy kissing his knees, spilling

liver blood. How visceral the distraction

of drool, split knees and your very own

Odyssey-in-the-garden. This is the river

bursting its banks, no weaving for you, except

for ten minutes while these warriors destroy

themselves with finger paint.

Jacqueline Rose

Is a fairy Jewess. A sateen cheeked mogul, midwife

of morals and the minutiae of legal systems; the

psychology of guilt beyond guilt, or the curtains and

cloaks of feeling that murderers wear. We are all,

after all, harbingers of the good, or not. She speaks

of lionesses and the disabled gladiators, pinned to

corkboards of perfection on the Cape of Good

Hope. Distilling the violence visited upon good

women, she proffers a vial: humanity. The salve;

exquisite imagination. Spools spill, gold from her


Me and Maid Marion

Gravity married circumstance, circumscribed

joy for a while. I took my best friend to the

forest, her gentle green march printed the air,

beatitude dappled light. I stood in its warmth;

I wait with still-yellow eyes to step into my

stride. When the spring rolls into my heart, I’ll

shuck of this fat jacket of pain, to rollick again.