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2 poems by Sarah O’Connor

After the funeral

you set the table

for one place less. Not waiting

to be asked, for once.

You take down a bottle of regret,

pop the cork, and pour

us all a glass.

Deep draughts keep us each

afloat, or some similar sensation

just-the-once removed from drowning.

She serves us piled plates of steamed

devotion, as we stare out at great estate

of a single, koi-filled pond.

Weeping willows smile

a shade of green too vibrant

for their tear-stained name.

I can't reach the greengage and my tomatoes are blight-ridden.

I pick my steps around the bruised plum mess on our garden path.

These moth-moulded windfalls should be apple green

and tart as their tree-top brethren I cannot reach.

My surviving marmandes swell proud ridges

of grassy goodness but late to the party as always,

this Cinders doesn't spot the tobacco stains behind their smiles.

No-one mentions that if she really had spent years scrubbing,

she'd struggle to walk in heels – magic or not. I'd have to kick

them away too, disintegrating as fairy godmother's naproxen wore off.

This London clay wasn't blight-ridden when I moved here.

Could the rain-carried pain be my banshee's caoineadh,

soothing my homesickness in its own morbid way?


Sarah O’Connor is an Irishwoman in London, where she works backstage in theatre & opera. Her poems can be found in Abridged, Bangor Literary Journal, The Broken Spine, Green Ink Poetry, Honest Ulsterman, Ink Sweat & Tears, Re-side, Shooter, and anthologies from Fly on the Wall Press and Victorina Press.


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