Why I Stayed

Traci Brimhall

Because the mirror rose over the night garden, melancholy
and bronze. Because I greeted the moon wearing eyeshadow                                                                                                                                         
green as a scarab and nothing else. Because like Artemis
I fed a man to his hounds. Because all summer I wanted                                                                                                                                                 
to die but chose not to trust my feelings. Instead, I took 99
of the peacock’s eyes, half the checking account, and left.                                                                                                                                              
Because I watched spokes of light sow my animus into
a flock of shadows. Because when I catalogued gratitudes                                                                                                                                              
I listed high thread counts, gin and tonics, bedrooms with
skylights, jeans on sale and how good my ass looked in them.                                                                                                                                        
Because cabbage-white butterflies in the buttercups and
sea salted caramels never failed to gladden me. Because                                                                                                                                               
I hoped to die painlessly, like a star. Because young sheep
needed their backs tarred to ward off foxes and crows.                                                                                                                                                    
Because like Psyche I was careless with candles. Because joy
returned with a kiss crisp as a dried bee that became a stab                                                                                                                                           
of honey on my tongue. Because I wanted to love someone
who wouldn’t count my sobs as proof. Because I found                                                                                                                                                   
a thousand small pleasures that made me want to live, and
they were bridges, birdsong, strawberries, sunlight and lambs.

Page 30, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 127
Issue 127

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 127:

Edited by Eavan Boland

Eavan Boland's Poetry Ireland Review 127 features new poems from such eminent practitioners as Harry Clifton and Vona Groarke, along with the emerging voices of Manuela Moser, Emma Must, and Seán Hewitt, and a first published poem from Sarah O'Neill. Maureen Boyle's poem 'The Nunwell Letter' – written as a commission from the Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Bursary – is another highlight of the issue, a long poem which gives a compelling voice to Ann Donne, wife of John, the metaphysical poet. Books reviewed include new titles from Nick Laird, Jean Bleakney, Ailbhe Darcy, Damian Smyth, Ciaran Carson, Anne Haverty, and Anamaría Crowe Serrano, along with a comprehensive review by Máirín Nic Eoin of Calling Cards: Ten Younger Irish Poets. This issue also contains eight measured responses in prose to a typically disputatious statement from Patrick Kavanagh as to the regard (or lack thereof) in which poetry is held by the Irish public, in his time and in ours.
There is a special episode of the Words Lightly Spoken podcast to accompany this issue of PIR, presented by Paul Perry, featuring readings and discussion with Seán Hewitt, Jean O'Brien, and Freddie Trevaskis Hoskin: Words Lightly Spoken.