The Thanatician’s Tricks

Tracey O’ Rourke
There is no sleep here – the duvet is hot
and malevolent; these heaped-up sheets
a counterpoint to the restless toss
of pine and lanyards.
My neighbour swears through the walls
her vibrator has let her down again –
its hum abruptly gone.
I hear the creak across her room
she’s hunting for batteries,
I want to offer her this cigarette
but know she will refuse.
So I smoke it, slowly, alone.
I am breathed by memories
moon-handled this night
recalling how, when the freshly dead’s eyes
will not close, the smallest corner
of paper towel beneath the lid
will do the job.
We cannot sleep like this.
Page 40, 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.