Three snowflakes for every black chip of soot
we send into the sky. And he can feel the snow always
falling, my father, who orders me to ready the fire.
So I pile chopped buckthorn at the edge of the yard
where the switchgrass hasn’t yet turned to swamp
and drizzle from the Folgers can dirty oil
across the branches. The bark on the grey kindling
peels and darkens where the fuel soaks in,
and beneath the heap – and for the fuck of it on top –
I crumple open sheets of last week’s News Tribune.
The forest is flashing its bonewood, but under my jacket
I shine like a marathoner, like a sword in its sheath.
When father comes stumbling through the snow with a drink,
I pack the pipe, pass it, pack it again. Every time
I take a hit I hear the stylus drop and drag
through the groove: I’m not afraid. I light the fire.
I’m happy with what happens a hundred years from now:
the soot I loose gathers like a new moon. My son,
his son, staring through the snow-dappled sky, both
swear they can see it, spinning in perpetual eclipse,
even though – like me – they know they lie.
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119:
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119 includes new poems by 48 poets including Frank Ormsby, John Kinsella, Rachel Coventry, Aifric Mac Aodha, Gerald Dawe, Alice Miller and Claire Potter. Also included are translations by Richard Begbie and Kirsten Lodge, an essay on Bishop, Lowell, Heaney and Grennan by David McLoghlin, and reviews of Paul Muldoon, Paul Durcan, Sarah Clancy, Medbh McGuckian, Kate Tempest, George the Poet, and many more. The issue also features photography by Hugh O'Conor, Dominic Turner, Sheila McSweeney, Fergus Bourke and John Minihan.