When I looked into your room
that day, I didn’t know
you were on the edge of death.
Your breath went
and came again, you slept deeply
like the child that you were,
the covers covered you.
I woke to changes in the air,
how it moved, where it settled.
In the vivid blue of a May morning
we went from even to odd
a new number
countenanced in your absence,
a new mother
a new father
a new brother
a new sister.
Familiar shapes re-formed
in the breach you created.
For days I circled the minutes taken
from your ribs, the muffled sigh
of your insides emptying out.
A red coat lay limp on the chair, I felt
the airborne currents of your longing,
your hair was on the hairbrush still.
This is the way life thinks about death.
How weightless is the last breath.
is lit with the small details of a life; odd socks,
a shoe half hidden beneath the bed,
the soft flowered quilt, uncrumpled now.
Crayons, paper planes, pink faded ted.
Day after day, I lie where she lay, her pillow-smell
flashes images; a face bled white,
fingers and silver beads twined tight, nails
of half-moon blue, hair curled in auburn light.
Across the window curtains drift, summer leaves
sashay in the breeze. I am ten. I see the glow
of corn-blue eyes, hear the echo of life’s
intention, its swift ungiving.
Eithne Lannon is a native of Dublin and teaches in Kilbarrack. She has had work published in Bare Hands, Issue 23, 2016, Skylight 47, Issue 6, 2016: A New Ulster, Issue 42, March 2016, the anthology ‘And Agamemnon Dead’, 2015, A New Ulster, Issue 28, January 2015 and forthcoming, Headstuff, Strange Bedfellows series, 2016. She had two poems shortlisted for the Galway Hospital Arts Competition in 2016.
She does regular open mics, has co-hosted the Gladstone Readings in 2015 and 2016, read at Skerries Soundwaves Festival, September, 2015 and Skerries Donkey Shots Festival, 2015 & 2016. She is currently Artist in Residence in Loughshinny Boathouse, Co. Dublin.
Heart-rending. May 28th is particularly moving.
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