“Imitation” and “Tattooed Girl” by Maggie Breen

Tattooed Girl

 
She had wings,
big and black,
tattooed on her back.
 
They reached up
above her flimsy top,
as if she might take off any second.
 
They looked strong, powerful;
I envied her conviction,
her dedication.
 
Did it hurt much?
Did she feel the blood bead on her young skin,
with every touch, every prick of the needle?
 
A modern Cleopatra clad in black
with dark, dark eyes, she intertwines
her silver-laden fingers with another, I presume her lover.
 
I never saw her leave but could have sworn
I felt cold on the back of my neck,
a shiver and then nothing.
 
(Tattooed Girl appeared in The Stony Thursday Book in 2015)
 

Imitation

 
I trudge through the winter sales
trying on one coat after another
but none look right on me.
 
In the mirror
I see myself,
younger,
flat-chested,
ugly,
in Mammy’s
good, wool coat,
too big for me,
the weight of it
and the smell
of her Tweed perfume,
familiar, reassuring.
 
I remember her
putting her coat on
over normal clothes,
on her way out the door
to a funeral,
brushing her short,
greying hair roughly
in the antique mirror
over the fire.
I imagine her
at the grave,
respectable,
her gold peacock brooch
pinned to the front,
shaking hands,
sorry for your troubles.
 
I soldier on,
determined
to look like
a proper woman
should.
 
(Imitation was published in The Stinging Fly in 2012)

Pic: John Walsh Maggie Breen, author of 'Other Things I Didn't Tell' pictured with her parents Rose and Paddy and her boyfriend Liam McMahon at the launch of her Poetry Collection in the National 1798 Centre.
Pic: John Walsh

Maggie Breen’s debut collection of poetry, Other Things I Didn’t Tell, was published in 2013. She was long-listed for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2015. Her poems have been published in The Stony Thursday Book, The Stinging Fly, Crannóg and Southword, among other publications. She was guest editor for The Scaldy Detail 2013. She has performed readings at the White House, Cáca Milis Cabaret, Kildare Readers’ Festival and Ó Bhéal, among others. Her short radio documentary Murt’s Eggs was broadcast on RTE Radio One in September 2014. She is currently working on a second collection of poetry, as well as other projects. Born in Wexford, Maggie lives in Dingle, Co. Kerry.
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Maggie Breen’s website

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