New Poetry- by Anne Walsh Donnelly

My Therapist and her Bumble Bee

It circles overhead, like a drone,
as we revisit childhood wounds, talk of adult loss
and all that lurks in the space between.
The bee buzzes and burning beech crackles

in the stove beside us. Smoke seeps through a chink
in its exit pipe, clouds the room, waters my eyes.
The incessant buzz overpowers our words,
until the bee lands on a window sill.

She takes a tissue from its box,
approaches the insect. I’m afraid it will sting
her hand. She folds the tissue
around the fuzzy black and amber body

as if wrapping a gift, then lifts her parcel
opens a window and releases the bee.
Its buzz fades and I’m jealous of its joy
in being free. Beech wood smoke

follows the bee into April air.
My therapist turns, with a smile that tells me,
this will be the last time
l see her pull a tissue from its box.

Children’s Games

I used to say Holy Mass with the seriousness of Bruegel’s children.
The big rock in the paddock was my altar.
Mam gave me her best lace tablecloth,
the one she had laid on the kitchen table at Dad’s wake,
said she couldn’t stomach having it in the house any more.

I covered myself in an old sheet, more grey than white
and drew a black cross on it with a marker.
I shaped soda bread into circles with Mam’s pastry cutter
and scraped red jam on it, hoped Christ wouldn’t mind his body
coated in strawberries.

I used Ribena instead of wine for God’s blood.
I had to be the priest even though I was a girl. My brothers
always fidgeted at Mass on Sunday so they didn’t know the prayers.
They only agreed to be the congregation at my mass
cos they loved strawberry jam.

The day I told Father Considine about God sitting on my bed
and reading me stories, he said,
“Don’t be telling lies, the Almighty is much too busy
to be reading children bedtime stories.”
I wiped my eyes, like Mam did after chopping onions,
“Was He too busy to save Dad from Callaghan’ s bull?”

After that I stopped going to Mass
so did Mam and my brothers.
God still visits me every night.

Sepia Strangers

There’s no photo
of parents holding me
at my Baptism,
or standing beside me
at my First Holy Communion.

There’s no photo
of Dad escorting
me down the aisle
or Mam holding
her first grandchild.

There’s no memory
of Dad’s laughter
Mam’s cry or the smell
of his smoky pipe
and her perfume.

There’s no photo
of sitting on Dad’s shoulders
when he walked in august fields
or clutching Mam’s waist
when the bull bellowed.

There’s no memory
of sucking a lollipop,
Dad might have bought
me after Mass
or tasting Mam’s apple pie.

All I have,
is a sepia photograph
taken on their honeymoon.

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Found poem from the Mayo News 16th October, 2018

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And all utility bills paid.

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