Frank Dullaghan

 

 

 

How to Escape and Other Theories
For Mary

My sister sings me to sleep
from half a world beyond,
and I sink into the pool of night
with an earful of song.

Outside, this foreign city closes
and I travel to Dundalk –
the Green Church, Castletown Road –
to a time in the past.

This is how close everything is,
the street, the buildings taking on
their old known shapes
and I, my soft-faced skin.

My past is always beside me,
as in the Block Theory of Time,
and my future not a step away:
all my selves are the same.

I’m already gone from this place.
Somewhere my bones turn yellow
or are burned and ground to dust
for the gluttonous stars to swallow.

 

 

Frank Dullaghan is an Irish writer who, at the time of his submission, is locked down in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has four collections published by Cinnamon Press, most recently Lifting the Latch (2018). His work features widely in international journals, including in Cyphers, London Magazine, Magma, Nimrod, Poetry Review and Rattle.  @frankdullaghan

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Diana Devlin

 

 

 

Holy Days

I took you to see churches in hot countries.
You admired the architecture, peeked inside
the giant ribcage but found no heart, only
empty pews for empty people. Sometimes,
you strolled majestically up the spine
towards the altar, like a bride without her groom.
You practised your own vows but your words
got stuck between the shoulder blades
and withered. I explained the tabernacle
and you thought of the sea, creatures clinging
to worn out rock, washed by the salt of ages.
Years later, you said the organ frightened you.
You would’ve preferred flutes or saxophones.
And those men dressed like crows made you feel
as naked as a field of corn after harvest,
all stubble and stunted growth.
Nowadays, you take your own children
to hot countries too. But you stay away
from churches.

 

 

Diana Devlin is a Scottish-Italian poet who previously worked as a translator, lexicographer and teacher. Her work has been published in The Lake, The Blue Nib, The Poets’ Republic and The Stray Branch, amongst others.

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Pat Edwards

 

 

 

Quite Contrary

This was the only place she felt at peace,
our Mary, in her haphazard back garden.
She loved to tend it, plant things to grow,
fashioned a path like rosary from stones.
She rubbed slate together trying for sparks
but found instead she could draw patterns.
Mary avoided cracks and spaces between,
afraid she might disappear. She lingered
on the flat rounds, safe holy wafer discs,
dissolved old troubles on her salty tongue.
At the end of her garden, a rotting wooden
shed for self-harm and tears on bad days.
She never could understand how the hell
she was supposed to hear the sea in shells.

 

 

Pat Edwards is a writer, reviewer and workshop leader. Her work has been widely published including in Prole, Magma, Atrium and others. Pat hosts Verbatim poetry open mic nights on the Powys/Shropshire border and is curator of Welshpool Poetry Festival. She published her debut pamphlet, Only Blood, with Yaffle Press in 2019, and her next is due later this year with Indigo Dreams.

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Eamonn Shanahan

 

 

 

Tri Jablana

There’s a walk I do alongside a bank of the Kupa from Dubovac to Gaza then curve out into open country where before you get to the mental health institution there are three poplars – tri jablana – three poplars in a field in a lot of sky that in winter without the leaves and in the right light look like feathers so I took a picture and that snap made people look twice and thrice and ask questions I mean reality is weird because everything is in everything else which is why we see genitalia in plants and trees and why my cigarette’s smoke describes physiognomies if you think about it there should be nothing but there’s all this if you think about it flesh and magma and the universe are more unlikely than me winning the lottery twice and thrice because I am choosing from a few numbers but the lottery of trees and rivers and plenty on the planet in the system in the galaxy in the thousands and millions and billions of others is of an order which makes you cry if you think about it reality is weird when the speed of light is seven times round the Earth in one second and atoms are as empty as cathedrals so the mass of the entire human race can fit into a cherry and every breath you take contains an atom breathed out by Perry Como if you think about it what what exists is beautiful because it is complex and because it is not nothing I mean there should be nothing but there isn’t there’s all this.

 

 

 

Eamonn Shanahan is living in Karlovac, Croatia. He has had poems published in Magma, Nine Muses Poetrylondonart.co.uk, and had a selection of poems broadcast on Oneword Radio.

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