New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

A poem from our first prize winner – Anne Walsh Donnelly

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Prayers after Communion

God, would ya make it okay to be gay?
Or strike Jack Doyle dumb.
Stop him calling me a “shirt-lifter.”

Would ya give me A’s in my Leaving Cert?
So I can get away from me Ma,
Da and squealing bonhams.

Would ya forgive me dead if I went to confess
me sins and rode Fr. Murphy in the box?
I’d say a hundred decades of the rosary, after.

Would ya let me join the seminary,
if I fail the Leaving?
I’d look good in white vestments.

Dear God, please don’t let me kill my husband.
Stood over the bed last night with the bread knife.
I’d have cut his nose off, only for the baby crying.
I can’t cope with those Guinness snores.

Doc says if I take some tablets I won’t be as jittery.
Says women get a bit down after having a baby.
Down, me arse. I love babies.
I want another, but husband won’t come near me.

Says he’ll only go in covered.
His cousin’s coming home from London
at Christmas, with a case full of condoms.
Says I’ll have to wait till then.

That’s months away.
And the killer is –
he’s great at making babies.
Knows exactly how to get me going.

Oh my God, the wife nearly killed me last night.
Worst nightmare I’ve ever had.
When I woke up she was in the bed beside me feeding the baby.

And now she wants another one. As if thirteen wasn’t enough.
I’m afraid to go near her in case she gets pregnant again.
Have to go to the bathroom to get relief.

God, would you take the notion
of wanting more kids out of her head? Doc
says he’ll prescribe the pill on medical grounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, would you give a special blessing
to the husband and wife in the front row.
They both look wretched. It must be very difficult

for them, trying to raise all those children.
Would you make sure their young buck,
the one with the tight jeans does well in his exams

and send him off to Dublin?
It’s very hard to say Mass
when he’s looking at me with his dog-in-heat eyes

and long fingers playing piano on his crotch.
I have to lock the door of the confessional box
when I see him coming for absolution.



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