Jacqueline Thompson
I put eyes and tongues into every 
dumb object I encounter, finding 
smiles in fire-grates, laughter 
tinkling in the servants’ bell.
I console the long silver spoon 
as I polish her and all her daughters.
I stroke the cheeks of dusty clocks,
wipe sweat from leaky windows.
As I scrape up luncheon crumbs 
he grumbles again: his women left him 
out of spite. Tears mottle skin as dry
as moths entombed in wardrobes.
My cuckoo master laid his eggs 
in umpteen nests: wife, 
stepdaughter, chambermaid; 
but never prune-fleshed me.
I used to hear his grunts then watch 
them scuttle from his room. Now 
I cannot shake the cat-in-the-wall 
ache bricked-up in my chest.
I have stayed here too long.
I am as dried out and stuck
as rice abandoned in a pot.
I’ll never leave.
Page 84, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 120
Issue 120

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 120:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Vona Groarke's final issue as editor is packed with new poems from leading contemporary poets, including Simon Armitage, Sinéad Morrissey, Colette Bryce, Paul Muldoon, Sean O'Brien and Caitríona O'Reilly. Books reviewed include new work from Derek Mahon, Bernard O'Donoghue, Rita Ann Higgins, Martina Evans, Denise Riley and the 2016 Forward Prize winner Vahni Capildeo. The centrepiece of the issue is an interview with Paul Muldoon in which the Armagh maestro shares his thoughts on subjects as diverse as public surveillance, the economic down-turn, and the exclamation mark. The cover image is by photographer Justyna Kielbowicz, and the issue also contains award-winning artwork from Sven Sandberg, Aoife Dunne, Jane Rainey, and Michelle Hall. Instead of an editorial, Vona herself answers the questionnaire she put to the contributors of Poetry Ireland Review Issue 118: The Rising Generation.