Teaching a shake

Her eyes well up. Love you and your doors, flung open and launched into single high notes. We are a country of hair. How are my favorite black trees? They open their wings. The frogs have subsided, but still occasionally gooach gooach gooach. An owl at the punch-line. She lifts her clamor like a cricket colony. And light is coming out to the patio. What war? Dad stops playing with a leathery glove. Mum begins to play Prod and my heart is a patio evening when laughter is silver. I am Moulin Rouge, hand to mouth, an open skirt, now even we can hear the Blind Mice, in various styles, brushing next to my ear. Mum ducks her head and veers into jazz and baroque, and at the end of the end, she starts laughing. But that’s before it is winter. I ruffle the can-can girls with an unfinished joke about hirsute men. It’s almost possible to forget that a hand on a shoulder can make a whoops. The dark canopies of all her oh dears, behindhand, the thick bed of chest, French bats skimming across and around the piano. His hillbilly nape, lips blue, undertone close to Dad’s ear.





Afric McGlinchey’s collections are The lucky star of hidden things and Ghost of the Fisher Cat (Salmon Poetry), with Italian translations published by L’Arcolaio. A surrealist pamphlet, Invisible Insane (SurVision) appeared in 2019. Poems have recently appeared in the festschrift, Days of Clear Light (Arlen House), Poetry International, Poetry Ireland Review, The SHOp anthology, and The Stinging Fly. Winner of a Hennessy and other awards, she received an Arts Council of Ireland Literature Bursary to write an auto-fictional prose poetry memoir, Tied to the Wind, forthcoming from Broken Sleep Books in August 2021.

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