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  April 2017
volume 14 number 1
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  John LaMar Elison
  Gabriella Garofalo
  John Grey
  Dani Raschel Jiménez
  Scott C. Kaestner
  Rick Lupert
  Afric McGlinchey
  Bethany W Pope
  Sanjeev Sethi
  mailing list
Afric McGlinchey April 2017



photo by marie c lecrivain

    Afric McGlinchey's awards include the Hennessy Poetry award, Northern Liberties Prize, Editors' Choice (USA) and Poets Meet Politics prize. Her début, The lucky star of hidden things, was translated into Italian and published by L'Arcolaio. Her work has also been translated into Spanish, Polish, Romanian and Irish. Afric has been invited to read at festivals, poetry events and literary exchanges in Italy, France, Zimbabwe, South Africa and England, as well as all over Ireland. She received an Arts Bursary to write her second collection, Ghost of the Fisher Cat (Salmon), which was nominated for the 2016 Forward Prize. Afric was selected as one of Ireland's rising poets in a special issue (118) of Poetry Ireland Review. A book editor, reviewer and workshop facilitator, she lives in West Cork, Ireland.



Blue Hour

The birds crept in through all-night fears
tiptoed around split skin and non-existent smells
that overpowered me to consciousness,
to tumbling down the stairs for calm and water.
I found the sky leaking the palest shade of blue
at four o'clock. Are my knuckles growing, joints
touching the zone of no-going-back? One leaf loops
into view, a piece of sky stark through a circle
at its base. Yet it survives its latticed shredding,
pours black with life. Later it will still be green.
Two wires, taut strings from a violin, trail
from leaf to pane in a 45 degree angle, birdless.
They've gone silent, and I'm alone in the nearly-day,
the waiting time. I've shed my gown to let heat
pour off, and now a chill is crawling. My body talks
all night, like my left-on laptop, pulsing light.
I could walk down to the beach. I could do
a downward dog, the plank, salutation to the sun.
I could make a cup of lemon tea. But I'm immobile,
seized up with anxieties, Jon's conspiracies,
Anne's tumour, Emma's paralysis, only her blinking
eyes to show that she's alive. This hour is the cruelest
time of night, when thoughts are louder and harder
to control. I smell it now, the smell that woke me up,
and remember hallucinating stinking runners,
burning fur and sour milk. Daylight's getting louder,
and perhaps I will put on the kettle, make tea,
sit outside and watch the pooling blue.
The grass and gunneras are taking colour,
I might sit on the low wall outside, listen
to the birds grow stronger, get confident myself.

copyright 2017 Afric McGlinchey



A Kind of Rescue

Can't inhale any more
of his boulder-sized words,
droops, like a fox's tail caught
in a shower of rain.
His rage has turned her upside down,
bringing out the other one,
who launches

like a whale leaping from the ocean,
while she disappears
into nothingness.
Later, comes to, to find herself
carried in a cradle of human arms,
panic hitting her in the throat,
bruises blooming;

tries to cover them, looks up
to see a corridor
of huge trees peering down,
green faces leaning.
Across the sky, a white arc
wakes the beginning of memory,
then a mighty uprush, burning;

his smiling mask,
finger beckoning
casually, as though talking
of the weather, or moving house,
eyes fixed as poignantly
as a bridegroom waiting for his lover.

Arms release her at the door,
and she ducks behind it,
fragments of a hide-and-seek self
flicking into place
like a coin into a slot.
On the camber of her hips, evidence
of thumb-prints.

(First appeared on Poethead, a blog by Christine E. Murray)

copyright 2017 Afric McGlinchey