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Saturday, 25 April 2015

'Static' by Gráinne McHale

Poem by Gráinne McHale


Backward steps
into a burnt-out womb.

The smell of those trees I knew.
There, looking at me,
across from a house
I lived in years ago.
I live near it again now,
beside the landlady’s son[i]
but he doesn’t know me.
I think.

People go by too fast for me to know.
People I used to know in each place.
All gone,
always going.
I know no one now,
no one knows me.
No one would know if I was not here.

If I died that would be some comfort
if there was someone who missed me
I could wait around for a bit
to help them get over it.
My Mum n’ Dad would be sad,
my brother
but the people I loved
without permission -
The Boys -
like they were my own soul
like they were God’s soul.

A Holy Trinity -
Jodie, Johnny, Roddy.
The last two were mirror similar:
ginger, freckled, ivory, svelte.
A beautiful, self-perpetuating
biological pattern,
like cancer.

Being so displeasing to one
might have been alright.
But three?
No, I suppose it would’ve been
like drinking and limits.
Two’s my limit,
way over with the third.

The third being Roddy,
with the rose petal, crème egg kisses,
belonging to some new girlfriend
or other every time I saw him.
Then – every time - he stole a kiss
goodbye from my lips
and I’d never see it coming.
To go home and put my hand in the fire.

I left his city
and came back to my town.
Out of fright,
out of exhaustion.

To live again near the trees
that knew me to see
back then before I left
for the big city.
I didn’t know them then
but remember them now
to smell.

[i] The landlady’s son referred to is me. Mom died on May 31st 2011.

Gráinne McHale is from County Galway. She graduated in 2010 with a BA Fine Art in GMIT Galway and is currently studying for a MA Writing at NUIG. She writes poetry and fiction; has made a number of short films and her artwork has been exhibited both internationally and at home. Her website is and her work also features on The Bogman’s Cannon. Gráinne was a Featured Reader at the March Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library.