Images: © Marie McMullin
Author: Marie McMullin
your hair cascaded down your back
just as wild but lighter than the laughter
hard as hail
as the storm brew in your eyes.
Once I tried
to anchor your grief
hand held out
wisps of hair trailed your escape.
Still at the table
wounds glimpsed through vapours
of brewing tea made me believe
would grasp solid flesh
that took flight
and poured us more tea
Walking side by side,
should I believe the joy lighting
your eyes, promising,
or the gap from your hand to mine
the stuff of dreams?
So many years, love, standing apart.
One step is enough
to walk into arms held open
so long bereft and aching
to reach round your neck and swear
I’ve got you.
I’ve got you.
The birdhouse has two new lodgers;
This year the happy pair are blue tits.
They’ve already started on home improvements:
Twigs, moss and blades of grass,
And even a tuft of dog fur the breeze
Carried off when I gave him a brush.
Madam settles out of sight,
Mister flutters anxiously about.
And then the heavy lifting begins:
Open mouths crowding the door,
Relentless hungry cries spurring on
Parents to endure fourteen-hour shifts
And keep the worms and insects coming.
Such loud chirping lacks discretion –
The magpie that massacred last year’s brood
Lurks about again, its shadow
Stretching over the many bodies
Of the neighbourhood’s cats, cut-throats languishing
Below the nest. One well-aimed stone
Makes them scatter; they’ll be back.
This doesn’t lessen the incessant comings
And goings of these two tiny birds,
Ceaselessly working towards a future
That isn’t promised; perhaps that’s hope.
From the window I see the moon
Peering through a veil of clouds.
I stare, and say hello, my sister
In solitude across the many miles.
Silent, but there, and kind enough
To let me believe she sends back
The gazes of others far away
Looking up and adoring her face.
The night sky is studded with stars.
Lyra, Aquilla, Andromeda –
Stories riddle the ether.
Light years away and out of sight,
Galaxies come to life and die,
And still blaze on in the dark
Writing off both time and space.
It is enough to make you believe in fate.
Sibylline stars, chartering courses
With incandescent ciphers.
Who else learns the universe
Is born and held in a name?
Stepping up to Atlas,
I push the skies off his shoulders.