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Two Poems

She Wears the Sky

The horizon line embraces the drowsy river docks:
the deep peacock patch of water reaching the dark
blends with it.

The hills pick up a saintly pallor
from the skin of one doing penitence.
The swallows linger, as if they forgot.

I gaze into the sealed eyes of my mother,
seen, not visited, not forgotten,
in the centre of her own picture,
who wove her own background
with no Martha-work to be done,
as women look when they return to their places
errorless after Communion.

In her rare low moods
she remembers the next five days as twelve
and compares an unheard-of number of things
to be abreast of the incurable,
having no choice but to return
to the end of thought.

In the evenings I can switch the light on from indoors
to illuminate the shroud
of irises over the urn of jasmine.

M and a Half Street

I kept a diary of regret,
an unbinding never wholly unbound.
My eyes settled on the lime and black
cover, drying clove buds when I opened it,
bloom and buzz.

I've still got the clippings about it,
a look given in a handsbreadth
of mirror or these Christmas windows
now and eversame. In a good rain
the vanessa or sphinx moth
could weave me as a ghost
to be near the mother in her dark placeó

her imperilled ivory shell,
inner lacy crystals of bone.
And after, after that,
I ran through the next dial down,
whispering when was 52nd Street
still a street.

Medbh McGuckian

The High Caul Cap
Wake Forest University Press

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