The Other Mothers

Liz Berry

It’s the ones just ahead who obsess me
         – risen from dark waters,
faces dazzled by rain, hair sequinned
         and cool as scales. I follow them
through playgrounds and school gates,
         their stink of river water and limes,
the salt of want tingling my gums.
         Even their names pierce me, trembling
through the tiny bones of my ears:
         Rupinder, Jess, Madeleine, Joy.
How their bodies glow and loosen
         with untouchedness.
They catch their faces in the mirror
         of the classroom window
as they wave goodbye: shocked to be back
         and singing in their skins.
Some bear a scar like an archer’s bow.
         I am sick with longing, want to bite
the green apple of their days.
         When the house grows unearthly
still with napping, I peer through
         the blackout blinds, catch one
out running, silver crowns shooting up
         from the puddles, her face upturned
to the storm, lips parted
         as if calling it her animal –

Page 27, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 134
Issue 134

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 134:

Edited by Colette Bryce

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, William Keohane, Gabriel Rosenstock, Alvy Carragher, Greta Stoddart, and Ciaran Berry are just some of the poets publishing new work in Poetry Ireland Review 134, edited by Colette Bryce. The issue also contains reviews of 18 recent titles, including the latest from Michael Longley, Martina Evans, Rachel Long, Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal, Matthew Rice, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and Moya Cannon's Collected Poems.

Tríona Ní Shíocháin contributes an essay, 'Foremothers', a revelatory account of a "hidden history ... of women’s oral poetic traditions", excerpted from A History of Irish Women's Poetry; Ben Keatinge looks at the sonnet – a form defined by Harry Clifton in Trumpet 8 as the 'pocket masterpiece' – from an Irish perspective; and Tom French pays tribute to the late and great Belfast maestro, Ciaran Carson.

'Singles Archive' is the title of the cover image, by Colin Martin, who provides all of the superb artwork for this issue of Poetry Ireland Review.