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Stink


They think you came first from Japan
in packing crates
hoping for mulberries, figs and persimmons,

for time to vibrate to one another
come mating season,
one signal longer and lower than any other,

for good sidings and soffits to wander
all winter,
where you’d never let loose the stink of coriander.

First you tried Pennsylvania, then south to Florida
and north to Maine:
you hitched your rides across America.

Dodged jumping spiders and katydids
with eyes for your eggs,
met crickets, ground beetles and earwigs

keen to make you dinner. Learned to prosper
on lima beans,
soya beans, peaches and peppers.

One fall my sister came and erected
a blank sheet
on our deck overnight, a light behind it

to gather bugs. Who was she searching for?
Not you, hibernating
in here with us as though here was where

you’d been headed for. Until the day
we turned up the heat,
making you crazy, blowing your cover.

If you were me, you went out still dreaming
of the words you’d heard
along the road but never hitched to meaning:

Asian pear and flowering dogwood,
corn and cherry and apricot tree.


Ailbhe Darcy

The Manchester Review

Issue 19 - December 2017


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