My Father’s Death

Michael Symmons Roberts
I don’t believe in omens, 
but that wedding bowl in smithereens,
then the starling in our hallway
whose fear sent the dog into a fury,
then those cast-in-blue recurrent dreams
in which he visits me and seems
aware of some unspoken threat
from which I wake in dread, and yet,
and yet he is still here, thank God. Am I 
dry-running for that day,
as if to preview loss might stem its force,
and so he goes, and goes, and goes? 
I need to break its hold.
I set a trap, an apple iced with mould,
heavy with its sick perfume:
open window, north-facing room.
I sit in wait and watch it land:
my father’s death, close up, new-spawned
or rather, hatched, 
so purposeful in dreams, now, watched,
can barely hold its line in air,
I speak out loud an ancient prayer
I only half-believe
and on the s of save
it flutters to my hand and look,
its iridescent jet, its wings of black lacework,
the hidden kernel of a rose,
a gothic wind-up toy. I close
my fist on it, too slow, it’s gone.
You parasite, you origami con,
you blow-in, mayfly, duff lit spill,
now go, and never come again. I know you will.
Page 25, 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.