New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

3 poems by Anne Walsh Donnelly

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Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in the west of Ireland. Her short fiction has been published online, in print and also broadcast on radio. She’s taken a break from writing fiction this year to focus on writing and improving her poetry. Her work has been described as being audacious, honest and real.





The Yolk


“Egg, fried. No yolk.”

Mam lifts her crinkled lids

flashes those sparrow hawk eyes

she used to wear

when I was a teenager.

“Hate yolks.”

Even now, she remembers.


I fry an egg

until the albumen

is as white as a dove’s feather.

Excavate the yolk,

leave no trace of yellow.


Mam shuffles into the kitchen,

slumps on a chair,

pushes the egg around her plate.

“Did you give the yolk to Dad?”

“He’s in Heaven, Mam.”


I pour her a cup of tea.

She grabs my arm.

“Talk off that yoke.”

I put the teapot on the table

prise her fingers apart


“I took it off.”

“Don’t lie,” she screeches,

“the yoke on your wrist.”

I glance at my gay pride bracelet.


She throws her plate on the charcoal tiles.

“Take it off.”

The same steel voice

she used when I was sixteen.


Her eyes shut, head droops.

I sweep up the broken plate and egg white

curse the waste and endless scenes

recycled in this kitchen.


“Did you give the yolk to Dad?” she whispers.





From You I Want



Your boot prints on my porcelain tiles

Your overalls in the washing machine

Your jeans to iron while watching Corrie

Your black suit in our wardrobe


Your Sunday morning burnt rashers and runny eggs

Your voice telling Hannah tattoos are a step too far

Your face when Ruth arrives with her flaky boyfriend

Your fingers picking shards when I drop a wine glass


Your “yes” to my “no”

Your white to my black

Your thumbs wiping tears from my cheek bones

Your jumper tickling my nose


Your hands soaping my body in the shower

Your “Head and Shoulders” hair on the pillow

Your Lynx body spray disguising Heineken flatulence

Your lips, your tongue on my skin


Your breath in the channel between my breasts

Your penis inside me

Your dominance giving way to mine

Your roars telling me I’m gorgeous


From you I want what I cannot have.






Mam ran away

after Dad gave her two black eyes

and made her nose bleed.

She fell into the river.


Dad put Polly

into an empty coal bag

after the funeral.

Put it in his van.


Me and Mam

used to give Polly stale bread

soaked in warm milk

every morning.


Dad said,

he was going to throw Polly

into the river,

‘cos she had mange.


He scrunched his beer can,

threw it in the fire,

then fell like a sack of rotten apples

into his chair.


Snored so loudly, the glasses

on Mam’s dresser shook.

I snuck out the front door,

crawled into the back of his van.


It smelt of cigarettes

and green diesel.

Polly scratched

the inside of the coal bag.


I cut it open with Mam’s bread knife.

Out she jumped.

I gave her one last cuddle

and whispered, “run away.”





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