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.
“Egg, fried. No yolk.”
Mam lifts her crinkled lids
flashes those sparrow hawk eyes
she used to wear
when I was a teenager.
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
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.
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.”