Oisín

With a dead tongue I named you 
‘little deer’. You had tossed under 
your mother’s skin, pushing shapes 
 
like shrunken antlers behind a satin veil. 
Somehow I saw it all leading to this: 
the struggles with your mother 
 
the scripted tears and slammed doors 
the walkings-out and walkings-in
the candles lit and the prayers begun;
 
all to your father to be the first to hold you.
My green surgical gown, disposable 
skullcap like some priestly garb 
 
or butcher’s apparel. You taking 
the world in with a yawn, blood-stained 
forehead and eyes blurred as if staring 
 
through a dozen bottles thick with vodka. 
The surgeon put a needle to your mother’s belly. 
Her trolley shin high in a swill of blood 
 
and amniotic liquor. I cried God’s name 
silent, inside my skull. Chaffinch song 
bickered through the open window like a chorus.
Page 110, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119
Issue 119

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119:

Edited by Vona Groarke

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.