The Consequences of Silence

Özgecan Kesici

She sent me a song
I did not touch.
It flew over my body like a
pigeon on North Earl Street.

                                                  I had scars in my palms.
                                                  Long nails in half-moons
                                                  that marked the end of fasting.

And we ate.
The lambs and the vines,
the hummingbirds and
our sorrows.

                                                  She draped gold around my neck,
                                                  ​hung bangles up to my elbows.
                                                  I shone for days.
                                                 They grew heavy.
                                                  No returns –


She said she’d leave over her dead body
after he bruised her eye
with a plastic bottle
and we inhaled our birds,
suffocated them in our throats.


                                                   Silver is lighter.


There are children singing
in the streets outside her mind.


                                                  She dropped a mothball shawl on my shoulders.
                                                  I tried to forget her hopeful gaze.
                                                  I swallowed my bird into my stomach
                                                  and drowned its flutter –


She recalls only what hasn’t happened.
The catastrophes
distract her.


                                                  I crush sour raspberries in my mouth,
                                                  open wide to shock red
                                                  and a song.

Page 56, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124
Issue 124

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 124:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Poetry Ireland Review 124 contains new poems from Paula Meehan, Ciarán O'Rourke, Lizzy Nichols, Mark Ward, Gabriel Rosenstock, Özgecan Kesici, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and many other compelling voices. Also included is Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin's remembrance of her Cork childhood, excerpted from The Vibrant House: Irish Writing and Domestic Space, a book of essays reviewed in issue 124 by Caitríona O'Reilly. Other books considered in this issue include collections from Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Mark Granier, Tara Bergin, The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, and the Collected Poems of the late Dennis O'Driscoll, and there's also a short interview with Thomas Kinsella along with an essay on Kinsella as poet and civil servant. Another Kinsella is this issue’s Featured Poet, Alice Kinsella, and all artwork for the issue is supplied by artists associated with the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Great Denmark Street, around the corner from Poetry Ireland.

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