Cave of the Firbolg (Nano Reid, oil on board) Not even a trespass of sky to compromise the dark where blood beats in the body of the heart. Nobody thinks, Why do we do this? The nervous system ferries its thin shards of glass down among the clay, where the blunt flint of the soul remains. Pollen embedded in the riverbed, a prehistory of refuse in the lower layers, every end is a chance to start over, but the river cannot start again, or the voice in the cave speak in a righteous tongue. The body too gives way as the blood deposits its memory in the tributaries of the cave, the sky pushed out, the heart yet to know it can go without.
Could Be The molten coin of the sun slots behind the horizon without making a perceivable sound city lights distract from the dark we are about to be pitched into so sudden the day has ended so soon the night begun my vision is slow to adapt I have poor eyes cannot see beyond where the light falls shaping the night the moon is no use always misseeing the light at my window as the moon’s which is only another misseeing a habit which knows no other way of saying what is seen the sun disappearing like the sun of the previous day going down like the sun of the previous century going down as a favour to the moon coming up I should say instead don’t look I should say instead don’t listen turn your face like you would from a stranger in the city the sun is a bitter crust to swallow is bitter honey the noise in my ear is getting louder and louder in my ear could be the sound of the day going down
of the night coming up or the sound of a human voice shrill and precise berating me slowly into slander and admission
Scenes from a Life Hanging by a hook on the wall, mirroring the mirror, she has stitched leaves for wings, a remedy for boredom. Riven by the absence of stone, she burns down a suburb made of wood, slumps her body under a tree, as good a place as any to lie down forever. On the brittle foliage she thinks, If the soul has texture it will feel like this.
Six Easy Steps In a cubicle of partitioned light I must eat before remembering the sign above my bed solicits silence I am misrembering the brain like lightening must find ground they ask me to draw boxes I have been filling up pages ever since I unremembered the contours no one speaks they insist I find my native tongue my proper ground insist I remember the proper outline of myself I am misrepresenting the dimensions of my thought a cube of sky is visible from my bed six equal sides of containment the part impersonating the whole is not helpful count out loud they say listen to the sound of something familiar the mower on the lawn for instance the cut grass is still grass six easy steps to find again the self impersonation is not useful try again to speak in your native tongue try again to trace the outline hollow enough for a body solid enough for a soul
January i.m. Caroline Quinn The moon on the last day of January 1998 was full, as far as I can remember, though it was, in fact, only the seed of a moon. I have found the records, checked its phase on your date of birth and mine, now that you are no age. Is used to the same as forgetting? I always wanted to live in real weather. Is it wrong to say I’m no longer sure? No one here seems to mind. They go about as though they have forgotten yesterday was as bad as today. Is used to the same as forgetting? Can you remember the night we spent in a house either still going up or coming down? I don’t remember which, but the moon was red, something I haven’t seen since and can find no record of. Is used to the same? I don’t remember which. This far from sea the air in winter is dust dry and sears your mouth when you try to breathe. At night I listen for noise in the lungs, the sound of winter fever. I always wanted to live in real weather. No one here seems to mind. Is used to forgetting? Surely the moon was a circle of ice. Surely our bodies shivered beneath it, a row of pines beginning winter.
poems from Some Lives © Leeanne Quinn
About Leanne Quinn
Leeanne Quinn was born in Drogheda, Co. Louth, and grew up there and in nearby Monasterboice. Her debut collection of poetry, Before You, was published by Dedalus Press in 2012, a poem from which was highly commended in the Forward Prize for Poetry. Her second collection, Some Lives, is published by Dedalus on October 1st, 2020. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Moth, Cyphers, PN Review, and Long Poem Magazine, and anthologised in Windharp: Poems of Ireland Since 1916 and The Forward Book of Poetry 2013, among others. Having lived in Dublin for most of her adult life, she recently relocated to Munich, Germany.
© Leeanne Quinn