Kitchen Nightmares

James Giddings

You are baking cakes
and licking the back of a spoon

like a child with a lolly at a fair.
When I see you place

the spittle glistening spoon
back into the mixture and stir,

I accept I’ll never sleep again
because this is the nightmare

there’s no waking up from.
You itch your nose

on the shoulder of your t-shirt
and I notice the subtle pink

of the mix. I shudder
to think what additive you added –

blood in the batter – just enough
blush to keep the rush of iron

from spoiling the sweetness.
Later, you hand me a cupcake,

watch me peel back the casing,
lift it cautiously

like a bomb disposal expert
lifting a live explosive

from a hotel air duct.
I take a bite and you smile,

as if you’re happy – as if you know
there are more bombs

ready to level the whole city.

Page 77, Poetry Ireland Review 131

Poetry Ireland Review 131:

Edited by Colette Bryce

Pride of place in Poetry Ireland Review 131, edited by Colette Bryce, is given to two as-yet-unpublished poems from Eavan Boland's final collection, The Historians, along with ‘Remembering Eavan’, Jody Allen Randolph’s poignant tribute to the poet. The issue also contains new work from Derek Mahon, Leontia Flynn, Harry Clifton, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, and Colm Tóibín, along with the emerging voices of Sree Sen, Nithy Kasa, Audrey Molloy, Padraig Regan, and many others.

The review section includes Maria Johnston examining new work from Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin as poet and as Ireland Chair of Poetry: Vona Groarke assessing Deryn Rees-Jones and Jericho Brown; and Julie Morrissy reviewing Jane Clarke, Simon Lewis, and Breda Wall Ryan.

Also included in this issue are six 'pandemic postcards' from Irish poets based in Ireland and in Britain, six different takes on attempting to live the creative and the lockdown life. Other noteworthy contributions include Ben Keatinge's survey of surrealism in Irish poetry, while Alex Pryce's interview with Sinéad Morrissey takes the poet through her back pages, from There Was Fire In Vancouver  to Selected Poems. And John Short's artwork features vivid watercolours of staycation swimming spots within two kilometres of his studio.