:: Article

Three Poems

By Ailbhe Darcy.


Such time beats with its own ending, its inlet
its interior, its confident stopping. You followed
signs to steal here, slowed to savour how you are

beloved in this city-not-your-city. Your palms passed over
pointed railings, stroked the leaves of suburban hedges,
a rosary you can’t visit on my skin, here, at the centre.

Mouthstrung, we contemplate the surfaces of all things,
two stone monkeys playing pool in the stone face
of a building, for the want of other things.


My goodness! Born azure,
bruising, turning, queer fruit
too long from the incubator,
god’s wrath, ladyfingers, blue
moon, shepherd’s curse, burst
yeh, nobody’s business: too
long fiddleheaded in our noggins
as homunculus, punishment
for that transgression,
of loving him before he is:
Blue. Oh well, paper him
with tinfoil, zip him in, hook
him up, wire him: lights,
let there be lights, spin spin
him until he picks up again, a
dark lettuce, fret, fret: long waits,
blue nights by the ward bed, peek
-a-boo in the ICU, peering in
to the baked potato: little
creature. Live. And living,
handed to you, wrapped still,
still blue, to home for a bibelot?

No, no.
A cloud of birds
rises abruptly over Edison,
finely wrought as hatchings
on a well-mown lawn, faster
than I can point them out.
A vee-shaped vee of geese,
moving town, upwardly
honking, an animal who
lifts out of my arms
his haunches, calling ho,
jumping square. They
say cats can
come blue.


“I am always shocked when people give me directions and they actually get me where I’m going: words become road.” (Édouard Levé)

Cottonmouth is clearing away empties
so they keep their voices low. No one must know
that the glass he’s handed his companion
is filled with her own reflection, kaleidoscopic
as a friendship tested in four different cities,
a phrase repeated so it scores and blurs.

The roof lifts quietly off O’Donoghue’s
claiming no one’s attention, the breeze
dimples, pouts and puckers, in its private strop.
He’s telling her a bay with gannets swooping,
tender openings, lips that part then purse.
Puddle patter. Alien braille. Goose bumps.

“And how am I meant to get where I’m going,
carrying this glimpse of my own small death?”
“One foot before the other,” he returns.
She almost curses him. But then
he does the thing that makes the faith:
says it all over again. Suffolk Street is down there,

turning faces upwards, one face and then another,
his words become road. “Practice first,
and then belief,” he says. She drains her pint.
She takes a step,
she takes a step,
down into that underworld.


Ailbhe Darcy was born in Ireland in 1981, where she studied for a BA in English and French at University College Dublin, spending a year at the University of Nanterre, Paris X. After living briefly in London and Cambridge, she is now based in South Bend, Indiana. In 2009 she published a chapbook-length collection of her poems, A Fictional Dress, with tall-lighthouse press; and she published her first full-length collection, Imaginary Menagerie, with Bloodaxe Books this year. She co-edits an online journal of new art and writing with Clodagh Moynan, called Moloch.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, September 25th, 2011.