Majella Kelly is a native of Tuam, Co. Galway. A graduate of UCC she also holds an MA in Modern Drama Studies from UCD. She was short listed for the Cuirt New Writing Prize 213 and The Fish Poetry Prize 2014. She is a photographer, half of the creative duo known as Fotissima. Her first poem will be published in the Autumn issue of Skylight 47.
Double Tap A Lifetime
Impromptu thumb and forefinger
touch and separate on your face
in the photograph, as if on a screen.
I double tap a lifetime,
slip you on again
like a pair of skinny jeans,
zip our hips together, button
your sun-kissed navel to mine
from the inside.
My digitised mind reverse pinches
to the dance where we began,
Looking down I see your feet.
are not always easy to love.
I loved your feet.
Intervening sacraments delete,
divine absolution of two weddings
and three holy communions,
leaving only your tight buttocks in that tuxedo
and the sad ashes of hand-written love letters
that were not hers to burn.
The Architecture of a Nest
For Elizabeth, My God-Mother
A tiny white crown on her little black head
she hangs upside down from the branch-ends
—her long tail a tight-rope balance pole.
In and out of the honeysuckle hedgerow
she flits together with a modest flock
—cartoon teaspoons stirring the air—
and roosts in group-tuft-hugs of dusty-pink
plumage, toasty as a dense fleece thicket.
She is a true master of nest-building,
three weeks it takes for her to finish it,
back and forth to the fork in the hawthorn,
her needle-point beak embroidering moss
and spider silk, tempered with fine, fox-hair
filigree, roofed with sea-foam green lichen
and lined with two thousand feathers—her own
breast feathers plucked out if necessary.
My Auntie Lil knows the architecture
of a nest. An engineer of cosy,
she’d tuck you in to a burrow of wool
and cotton. She was my Walton’s Mountain—
my childhood’s safest, down-filled snuggery.
I can still see her smile when I’d call out—
—the pastels of plastic curlers dimpling
under the soft brown criss-cross of her hairnet.
Grizzly, he re-emerged from the cave
with floury paws, rolled-up sleeves, a grinning confession:
I’ve never actually made scones before.
Then, with the marsupial tenderness of a kangaroo
licking out its pouch for a new embryo, she was swathed
in mohair, and settled into the hushed passion fruit
and pomegranate stripes of a hammock
in the crook of his garden, with a book.
Cradled between powerful haunches, she could suckle
at last on a lullaby. Purring, she became the blithe chime
of silver cutlery in the branches above her; the stark
heart pirouetting four letters, naked in the bark;
the thirsty parchment drinking ink from a skilfull nib—
Romance—it used to be just for other people.
The clink of china tea cups in the kitchen promised intimacy
—that had been hibernating under navy cashmere—
on lips the flavour of country butter and wild raspberry.