Rats’ Decision

Igor Klikovac
Dogs were slowly going rabid; cats, it was assumed, 
had simply walked out. Bluebottles had a field day.
You want to see what rats are doing, a neighbour said,
if they stay it’ll be bad, but it’s a no-hoper if they leave.
So we played chess and waited for the sign, until
one day the others told me he’d left too, the rat-expert. 
Months later, with swallows, I was on my way out
when I saw a forgotten classmate on the enemy checkpoint
go through people’s papers, and thought stupidly: it’s true,
everyone will have a story about the war. A borrowed name 
in the pocket, my own in the coat’s lining, I started praying 
to the God of Rats that this doesn’t become mine.

Translation by: Igor Klikovac and John McAuliffe

Page 45, 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.