Let’s begin with a shroud, darkened by time,
pushed aside to show your bones’ filigree.
The ultrasound probes and digs as you slither
in and out of focus, sockets gaping
like a Halloween ghost through a sheet.
The hole of your stomach. The chomp
of your heartbeat hungering below my gut. Perfect cerebellum. A very nice spine.
There – the kidneys. Little dark pockets of need.
Colour ﬂares across the screen, arterial ﬂow
through widening chambers, its rush exhausting.
The eyeball’s orbit. Closed but watchful.
Your twig arms flinch and flick. Your tiny jaws grin.
Little lizard. You know something I’ve forgotten.
No sun this morning, but the promise of a tilt
and so men on the radio talk about things we can’t see.
Plaques and residues are tangling themselves
around your brain like triskels on Newgrange granite,
but the baby has found the cockles of her fists
and is unspiralling their curls
into darting cuttlefish.
We only talk about this: the things we can see,
the things that are certain –
the baby’s wriggle when we sing to her, her liquid grin,
and not the shadows in the corner of the room,
the bright blooms on the negative of your CT scan,
the dark mornings to come.
Come to my bed in the pewter hours
between sleeping and waking, like a doctor
on the night round. Place your hand
over my eyes and let me see. There,
my own feet. How they’ve moved me.
Raise my chin so I can see a path ahead,
through willowherb and bloody cranesbill,
the river stitching itself into air,
midges tracing equations on the breeze.
Hold my hand while I run, as if we’re
the only moving things on this spinning world,
chasing the dusk so the evening stays golden.
Lace me back into my arms and guide them,
breathe the earth’s heat into my toes. I’ll race you
for as long as you’ll follow.
Pit Lullaby X
She knows it must be there,
Knows the shape that corrals the bright
Yellowing clouds that pass over
Like the ghosts who whisper
In our ears while we dream,
Gliding from our eye-line when we wake.
Here is mother, asleep. And here’s the sky,
Touching us, even when our eyes are closed.
Holidaying with Dad During the Divorce
His car is a nervous breakdown,
scattering chrome along the motorway.
He gasps through panic attacks
in tunnels and medieval towers.
The falconry display goes on regardless
and eejits in velour have a crack
at each other with plywood lances.
I’m in fugue state, headphones glued
to me as mum calls to accuse him of kidnapping.
Come for a drink, he says.
No. Retreat to the Travelodge,
dry my one pair of decent ﬂares
rancid from days of rain,
in the mysterious trouser press.
My anger ﬂits and shifts
like a clot of starlings.
He presses into my hands
some Günter Grass,
and Sylvia Plath –
in a language we don’t share,
and the evening heaves
with the bellow of cows
taken from their calves.
11 Pit Lullaby
13 Anatomy Scan
14 In the Birthing Room
15 Metaphysical Breast Milk Poem
16 Ophelia in Ballybough
20 Pit Lullaby II
21 A Plea for the Sanctiﬁcation of the Ditches of Ireland
23 Child you cut me open
24 What It Takes
25 Patchwork Quilt
26 If You Can Tame a Wildcat, You Can Raise a Baby
27 Pit Lullaby III
28 On Poisons
37 Pit Lullaby IV
38 In the Wrong Place
41 On Plastics
43 Supermoon Trifecta
46 Men are Talking
47 Pit Lullaby V
48 An Island Sings
56 Pit Lullaby VI
57 The Signs
63 Pit Lullaby VII
64 Nureyev in Dublin
66 Holidaying with Dad During the Divorce
67 Dad Cars
69 Pit Lullaby VIII
70 Milk Teeth
73 Rock Pool
75 Pit Lullaby IX
77 Hungry Ghost
80 Bilbea’s Response
81 Lock Years
83 Onion Poem
84 In the Bathroom Showroom
85 Hunting Lions
87 Night Run
88 Pit Lullaby X
‘Traynor is a master at delineating these almost imperceptible but vital changes…Traynor’s fine delicate lyricism belies a social consciousness that subtly bleeds through several poems.’ – Martina Evans on The Quick in The Irish Times
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