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Post Road Magazine #35

Specific + Magpie

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Specific

This is the way
I remember the shapes
that your mouth makes
when you try to say
words you can’t say.

This is the way
your tongue and lips move
and the way this
imperfect language
is perfectly you.

This is the way
you’ve never been able to say specific.
You make it wide,
like the ocean
past the fence
past the flower-surrounded house
that you built.

This is the way
you can’t say flowers
but love flowers.

This is the way
I couldn’t cope
when I realised I was broken.

And this is the way I moved away.

And this is the way
you said you weren’t crying
— you just had
water in your eyes.

And this is the way
you didn’t even try to dry
those eyes,
and how I cried, at last,
and how I didn’t laugh when
you tried to say specific.

This is the way you say
you Don’t speak good England
because England — like me —
is half a world away

past the house
and the flowers
and the fence,
and the ocean
that — like you, fluent you —
is pacific.



Magpie

                             You steal breath from friends. 

Once I heard you gasp my gasp of coming. Once 
I heard you whisper to my son that you’re his father.

Once I heard my weeping in your throat, 
then you sang my song back to me, lulling me
into your sleep, the one that you took from me. 

I won’t forgive your trespass. I won’t forget.
I remember every time I let you make me shake.

(And the fear in me makes the fear in me seem
bigger; makes the cupboards bare; makes mistakes 
mistakes; makes and takes and breaks.)

You can be your judge and thief and jury. I will nurse 
my sorrow to a nipple. I’ll make plenty more.

 

 

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