thinkin thena the mcginn widow –
to whom a caul-wrapped stillborn was bestowed
by the passagea time & local rumour –
that wi word seen through a ripped strainer,
she’d have us cleaved in two
by the enda my english breakfast or yours. . .
that for the sake of an extra tenner,
she’d open themara like the cadaver
of her caul-wrapped boy, an end us
with a word; this bridget cleary, this tasseomancer.
i think again, love, that t believe in this
would be t chapen the accident of our own gift:
a shared impulse over gins at the garrick,
two photons kept unobserved through the double-slit.
greedy fer my own derangement, i pulled
a six-foot swatcha cheesecloth from my gullet
like a never-endin hanky – passed it
around the livin room proclaimin, magic!
then spokea how it was this resurrected thing.
next, i tugged on a hidden catgut string
so that the light disappeared, an in the fuss
that follaed, a man outlined in phosphorous
steered intae view & moved agin the gloom.
meanwhile, a reachin rod thrust about the room
and all around me was chaos! chaos!
i fuckin loved it when my house was in séance.
an obdurate fuckin nightmare, this –
at the eleventh hour – tryin t manifest
the apport of a swollen fish head
from the secret compartment in my trouser leg. . .
but here we are, st anthony: patron
of lost & stolen things; scourge of satan
and subject ova devotion so specific
t newry that yer name is still physic.
help me deliver these people from their wants
in the form of recovered accoutrements –
badges, flors, ten spots, coins, mobile phones –
anyhin which doesn’t press agin ma tailbone
with too much vigour, lest i go t sit,
and extract their heirlooms all covered in shit.
it’s not that am afraid / grandda
/ of you or yer carpet slippered
revenant hauntin the trevor hill
bank of ireland like a pulse
from the silent alarm / nor of
my own face caught again in
plexiglas at the cashier window
/ surrendered to its guise of
yours / though weak jawed an
crooked from an afternoon
spent consolidatin debt options
an bordered by financial advice
/ but of bein here / years from
now / an ghostin my way
through the bank’s mullioned
windaes like groundwater
pulled through the wand ova
dowser / because when i finally
come face t face with my own
younger image / assessin each
personal loan / negotiatin some
long term repayment package /
i’ll have to say to him then / as
you say t me nai / that this is the
diffrence between life & death
Image © Michael Foley
These poems are taken from bandit country by James Conor Patterson, published by Picador.