The first of Attracta’s fine poems are taken from her forthcoming publication, Dinner in the Field.
Out of nowhere you appear in fog,
every seven years vague outlines
tease faint horizon,
visible for one day, then
you vanish back to myth.
I’m moored, enchanted, longing
this fabled Island erased
from nautical charts.
Here on the mainland we are
unforgiving, over indulge, ignore
I’m anchored, in love, tied like a boat
to your image.
It’s said a wise old man lives in you,
holds gold, silver, jade.
In stone castle, a magician moves
objects by sound, musical airs in wind;
we cannot hear them from here,
machines, arguing block our ears.
It’s rumoured, monks with ancient knowledge,
hide in caves, crevices, woodlands,
live on mussel, crab, winkles floating
in pools, elderberry, dandelion, nasturtium.
It’s even claimed you’ve advanced civilisation
across our globe, here, we have
It is 3am
We slip into morning, walking Merchants Road,
our feet pace the moon, it’s timeless light, cloaks,
just enough to dull this truth; I was young once, no need for fragile kiss, eyes that search
for depth, now crumbled into age. I want them back,
those days my body flowed, dared adventure, like
trout dancing water, when boys were eager, young starling
splitting air, and I would tease.
One street away, we could take a night boat, sail to Mizen
Head, sit on peninsula, between rocks, coral, collect shells.
Although I don’t know you, we have a relationship. I would go anywhere tonight.
Still here, I slow to the beat of your steps, tall grey buildings
shadow our frames. We smile to each other, glance
at empty cars, parked like soldiers into little squares.
I’ve moved in circles, tasting paths to love, never found the one,
now there’s you.
Omnivores, we crawl, afraid to arrive at each other.”
Whispers gather, fall around your feet.
“I don’t want anything to change.” you say.
‘It won’t,” I answer, turn to look away, smell lilac from
my garden in mist, standing on concrete path.
You reach your hand to mine, our fingers soft,
I cannot hold this moment.
I’m falling again, wrap myself around your coat, ink hair
sweeps my face, my chest taut,
feels your dragon breath on my skin.
I’d forgotten what it is to have my body touched.
Our eyes reach, too deep to look, turn again,
under the street lamp, my mask is slips, no words hold
its scaffold, your silence mutes my metallic tongue.
As we arrive I conceal my panic, like water hides
a swans underbelly, its feet a wheel of passion. Night
“I must have the dream of love, your touch,
rush to feel again, embrace what you will offer.
I want to gather stars, wrap us in their shawl,
I’m in the mood, too soon I’ll be forgotten.
The Priest Said
There was nothing dignified
about my father’s death.
He drowned in a slurry pit.
It was a cold wet Saturday
evening in March – people
going to Mass,
followed the priest,
to our shed, in the field.
I had slipped amongst them,
unnoticed, searching in hope
of finding him alive, while hearing
their prayers for his dead soul.
I watched from a distance,
the ambulance, fire brigade,
guards, and neighbours with slurry
tanks, to empty the pit.
Shrinking into gut’ wrenching
pain as the search had continued
for nine hours.
I was there when he was pulled
out, like a calf just born.
Later, sealed in a brown bag,
he was thrown inside our front door.
When he called to our home,
the day my father was buried,
the priest remarked
what a dignified family
that people had mentioned,
we were; we had not cried.
My siblings proud of his praise,
I stayed silent.
and more of Attracta’s work is featured here
Fall on Me
I stood on the footpath, watched you load the car,
the radio in the background, Andrea Bocelli,
singing a duet with his son, “Fall on me.” I listened,
feet clinched, tried to hold on, a last look before
you left, make it eternal, moment without words
where joy, sorrow, pride
spiral as one. I followed the curves of your curls,
faint now, arc your cheek bones, slender and strong,
never quit sure if your eyes are hazel or brown, your
innocent mischievous smile.
“What are you staring at?,” you asked,
as I tried to grasp the image a photo can’t take,
I wanted to say, “please don't die,” and, “what if
anything happens, who will you have?”
thoughts pushed to another time, I replied,
“take care of yourself,
and try to keep out of others people’s shit.”
“I will be thinking about , Mum,”
you said, shoulders above me, your arms
stretching to hug. I leaned in to the boy once
cradled in my arms, two years old when sister
was born. His hands on my knees, he watched her
breastfeed, repeating, as he looked in my eyes,
‘I darling a mama.’
Now, four black bags, and memories my comfort,
I braved goodbye, swallowed the pea in my throat,
heart pumped in panic, said,
“You know where I am if you need me,”
“Yes mum I do, six thousand miles away!”
You reminded me to drain the lawnmower, petrol is bad
for engines, make sure to order oil for the winter.
Over our heads swallows prepared for flight,
I cried, laughed, “I’ll be fine,”
as I let go of the boy
who sat on his bed, staring out to the stars, telling stories,
‘there are black holes out there Mum, and when you
go through them, there are other beautiful worlds.’
You Are Still Alive in my Psyche
“I’m not happy about this,” I said,
tears fill in fear of life without them.
The smiling nurse busy with procedures,
squeezed my hand, “You’ll be fine.”
Saying goodbye to ovaries, one
needs binocular eyes.
I picture the symbol of scales, over
my womb, feminine root.
Naked under robes,
“be brave,” I said, tried to converse
cyst, tumour, fibroma, overriding
my left side. The surgeon said,
“they must go.” I caved, arrived
to theatre, my blue gown, white walls
Body adorned with tubes, machines,
needles, drips, notes hung on my trolley.
Drifting, under my breath I panic,
whispered to my life-giving organs,
mother of my children.
Never thought about you,
in this way;
Lady Justice, governing Venus,
sitting over moon. Is it too late?
I woke to clanging pain,
female organs pawed react
to expurgation, half conscious, my body
stop this stinging.”
knowing you were bundled in blood’
soaked towels, and after histology,
thrown in waste incinerator,
possibly recycled. Discharged,
more than hormonal, I felt my
grief, this numb death, tell you,
You are still alive in my psyche.
Attracta Fahy’s background is Nursing/Social Care. She works as a Psychotherapist, lives in Co.Galway,and has three children. She completed her MA in Writing NUIG in 2017, and participates in Over The Edge poetry workshops. Her poems have been published in Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, The Blue Nib, Poethead, Coast to Coast to Coast, Orbis, Crossways Literary magazine, The Curlew, Picaroon, Honest Ulsterman, and several other journals. She has been included in The Blue Nib Anthology, shortlisted for 2018 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year, and a Blue Nib nominee for Pushcart.