back into a book where they belong,
maligned and canonical and conical:
I have kicked off my shoes to do this,
they land tipping at angles to the wall
so a ghost sits entwined with me,
persistent presence too tall for the room.
A square of sky out my window
bluens, flocked with noise.
The smell of the stems is complex,
carries a suspicion: pondwater,
spinach leaves crushed and fermenting
at the bottom of a plastic bag.
All of a sudden I am unsure
what to do with these rustling blooms,
tipped out all over my bedspread,
realise that this is a pollination,
an enactment; fly-wing veined
and onionskin thin.
I select the lightest projections,
only those with no bulbed weight
to trail. Some petals become pulp
at the pinched severing, some sigh apart
from the stamen with a damp hint.
I try to find a volume heavy enough
to do the confining, imagine something
like a slow revenge between pages.
A wept shadow: the paper
was meant to be parchment,
all this was meant to be done sooner.
The sketchbook I steal pages from
loosens its thread, melts sideways
at the seams. I hope I don’t forget
about this ripped ochre mess,
deadhead punctuation, wonder
will the spider-leg shapes rot;
wonder is the point that they don’t;
wonder at my own error,
thinking I can do this
on someone else’s behalf,
shutting the symbol with a snap.
Alicia Byrne Keane is an IRC-funded final year PhD student at Trinity College Dublin. Alicia’s poetry has been published in The Moth, The Colorado Review, The Cardiff Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Banshee, Abridged, and the Honest Ulsterman, among others. Alicia’s poem ‘surface audience’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize; the short story ‘Snorkels’ was featured in Marrowbone Books’ anthology The Globe and Scales, alongside the work of other Irish writers such as Dermot Bolger, Mia Gallagher, and Louise Nealon. The poem ‘Cloud / land arc’ was nominated for the Orison Anthology.