Mary Mulholland




Bluebeard’s Cousin

Your red jacket’s stark against the snow
of the Welsh mountains. He’s brought you
to his home, where everyone’s asleep.

The sky is black above the mountains.
You think you can hear the sea in the wind.
He pulls you close. The trees wave hieroglyphs.

His yellow eyes seem so loving and wise.
He boasts no woman has ever left him,
then slices off your hands and your feet.

The moon turns red, even the grass is bleeding,
the rowan drop a branch which he breaks in two.
One end is sharp. Now he’s washing his hands

in virgin snow. With your stumps and your head
you thrill the rowan point into his heart
and how the wind howls through that hole.

He’ll be staring forever into the black night,
but your hands will grow back, your feet return,
and you’ll leave the mountains, the melting snow.



Mary Mulholland’s poetry has been published in several anthologies and online, she’s been regularly shortlisted in national competitions (eg Bridport), though yet to win, and is completing a Masters in Poetry through Newcastle University. She lives in London but frequently escapes.



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