“Lost” and other poems by Olivia McGill

Anatomy of Love

Your hands quiver along the dead roses
of the embossed armchair,
its towering sides, pillars to the underworld.

You spend your days here,
an old spectator of trawlers and rust,
spilt oil and empty stomachs,
pilothouse lights shine
miniature homesteads on concrete.

I was the first child to soften your world,
your chance at parenthood.
We sit together now,
your thin smile
sends waves across the water.

Your skin ripples,
arteries surface,
ankles redden uselessly by the fire–
we’re not going anywhere.



Neon screeches through
the waiting room
its violent stain
a searchlight
hunting a fleeing

Burying my head
deeper into your lap,
I spread my fingers
slowly round my stomach
catching the dull sparks
from muscles tightening, bowing
to a prune-sized meteor
turning to dust.

I lift my head
from its resting place.
Heavy with experience
I make my way to the bathroom
to bleed out
what’s left of our baby.


‘Pregnancy of unknown location’

Where are you my love?
Growing uselessly
somewhere unseen.
Weeks spent willing you on,
now needing you gone.

Where are you my love?
Come another time
in a different place,
where we can see your face.

Where are you my love?
A fate decided-
injection or the surgeon’s tools,
what will it be?
Forever lost in me.


9 months

2 blue lines
5 weeks gone,
10 weeks, you’re gone.

2 blue lines
4 weeks gone
7 weeks we see and hear you,
10 weeks you leave us.

2 blue lines
4 weeks gone.
3 injections,
5 weeks
you’re ejected.

2 blue lines,
we wait and wait.
70 is my HCG level,
48 hours till it should have doubled.
2 weeks waiting for levels to rise,
6 blood tests till we can get a scan.
0 sac,
0 embryo,
0 baby,
1 ‘pregnancy of unknown location’,
2 broken hearts.


Moment in Time

Breath dances on skin,
its rhythm changing as fast as you are.
Mouth and nose bury further into flesh,
finding a pocket, you fall asleep.
Body slender, mottled,
paused from life’s experiment.

A dog’s shrill yelps,
a child plundering toys
next door briefly pierce
your slumber.

I draw you closer.
Time is stopped
in this darkened room
where past, present and
future converge
in a perfect moment.

© Olivia McGill

IMG_0437Olivia McGill is a journalist and writer from County Donegal, living in Dublin. She returned to Ireland four years ago, after almost 16 years of living abroad. She studied English and Spanish at University College Dublin. After graduating, she travelled for two years through South America, Australia, and Asia.

She returned to do a master’s degree in International Journalism at City University in London. Her first job as a journalist was at the Coleraine Journal and from there she went on to be Media Director for international aid and development agency GOAL, based in London. In this role, she travelled to India and Africa writing stories on the people the charity helped.

She left London in 2009 to work for Al Jazeera English, based in Qatar, where she worked for almost three years as part of the online team. She returned to have her first child in 2011, the same year she got married. She lived and worked as a journalist in London, including at Sky News and Thomson Reuters until 2016, when she made the much-debated move home to Ireland. She has been writing creatively on and off for years and loves the feeling of creating something stirring and meaningful on a previously blank page.