Diving for Snails

Stephanie Conn
Off the east coast of Bruny Island, 
neck to toe in neoprene, a man rolls
backwards from the boat’s flaked rim,
barely a splash as his body enters water.
A final slice of blue flipper and he is gone,
leaving a yellow line shifting on the surface.
Below, he skirts the ragged crevices, pushes
aside seaweed and with a deft flick of the knife 
frees a single abalone from rock, as big as his hand,
and slips it swiftly into the net tied around his waist.  
When it’s full he untangles himself from the catch,
tugs the line, sends it up to be counted, weighed.
Later, he offers me the shallow ear-shaped shell, 
its lining brilliantly iridescent, shining silver
in the sun, exterior a streaked and mottled 
green. He points to the black-edged foot
to indicate the name Blacklip but other
words stick in my throat: gastropod,
edible, mollusc – I fling it back in.
Page 89, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124
Issue 124

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Poetry Ireland Review 124 contains new poems from Paula Meehan, Ciarán O'Rourke, Lizzy Nichols, Mark Ward, Gabriel Rosenstock, Özgecan Kesici, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and many other compelling voices. Also included is Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin's remembrance of her Cork childhood, excerpted from The Vibrant House: Irish Writing and Domestic Space, a book of essays reviewed in issue 124 by Caitríona O'Reilly. Other books considered in this issue include collections from Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Mark Granier, Tara Bergin, The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, and the Collected Poems of the late Dennis O'Driscoll, and there's also a short interview with Thomas Kinsella along with an essay on Kinsella as poet and civil servant. Another Kinsella is this issue’s Featured Poet, Alice Kinsella, and all artwork for the issue is supplied by artists associated with the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street, around the corner from Poetry Ireland.

Available now to purchase online or in all good bookstores.