Seanín Hughes

Anthem

New York’s summer breath

climbs heavy through the window

and the restless worm wrestles

through apple rot.

Narcissus’ trumpets

wither in astonished atrophy,

recoiling into the earth

as the amnion ruptures,

a parting of seas in the

holiest of churches –  

between

the wide open legs

of an obedient woman,

held to ransom by

blanched agony, lips

anaemic, lily white.

Skull shards shift tectonic

and give passage

to the crowning;

the searing stretch of emergence,

the ripping of the mantle,

the sting of the slap –

And it breathes.

The bed sheets are soiled

with immigrant blood

the colour of November poppies,

and writhing in it,

the jaundiced newborn skin

of an epoch in waiting:

a God complex

with baby sized fists

clutching nuclear warheads.

Published by Poethead, June 2017.

Sunday Mass

The strands of us all

lived in a tassled green pouch,

bound by thread and bloodline.

The house that held it

still holds my softest days

in dream sequence;

of them all, slow Sunday afternoons

out back, in the care of hands

that performed miracles –

a table for my dolls to dine,

a wardrobe for their clothes,

a seesaw solid enough

for every one of us, and we’d convene

on the oak and take turns

soaring skyward.

Under the corrugated roof, we

shared a feathered semi-silence;

it nestled there, contented

and I’d follow the dust motes

as they floated down on a sunbeam

to meet the sawdust

that carpeted the shed floor;

fresh tendrils from the steady hand’s

tempo, his maker’s rhythm.