Jo Burns – Three Poems

joJo Burns was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland. Burns writes of rural Ulster idyll juxtaposed with the ever looming presence of the troubles. She is a 39 year old medical scientist and mother of three. She has resided in Chile, Scotland, England, and now lives with her family in Germany. She also enjoys writing poems inspired by travel, and dabbling in german poetry translation. To date, her poems have been published by A New Ulster and Greensilk Journal.

Aubade to Uisce Beatha

After Leonard Cohen

I got up too late. The day is lost again.
The Evening twist, your cap unscrewed
your tears of whisky, washing my scars out,
unpicking seams untill the spill ran loose

in my translucent suit, your amber melt,
my drowned velleity in your sublime volition.
Your sudden caprice springs over my sombre hilt.
We slide together down cell walls of cognition.

I tilt on fluid axis, hips as wings,
nerves fluttering in your swirling burn.
Circumnavigating the room in full flight
my slow motion tumble, seductive, silken.

Moon, old watchman, sucked my care dry,
eliding sounds of those fading friends.
An acrobatic blur, the sonic dims.
Your distinctive shot that severs, sends

me pouring days into empty nights.
Blurred but downed with heavy purpose.
Far from vagrant or some flight of fancy,
we both consume untill we’re empty.

Letter to Shannon

You are the blind diver, I’m the seabed of wine
You’re the shiny cabriolet, I’m the defender in green

You’re the foreward, I’m dog-eared with creases
You’re the jigsaw addict, I’m still picking up pieces.

You’re the brilliant 10 year old, I’m the 40 year anglepoise
You’re the pleaser of others, I’m the domestic counter noise

You’re the parallel, I’m perpendicular
You’re the irony handbook, I’m chin in vernacular

You’re the comic at home, I’m still sleeping with sonnetts
You’ll look for Valency, I’ve been there and I’ve done it.

You’ll look one day for Valency, just like I’ve done it
I’ll nag you still, I’ll still be your mother

You’ll still be the Irony Handbook, I’ll still be chin in vernacular
I’ll still rezip each DNA helix two dimensional

I’ll have bitten my laugh in half too often to mention
I’ll be counting down days untill my horizon

will elope, cresting on sea foam and you, alone
on the shore, will most probably stroke

each cicatrice ever caused by me. Baby, the proof
is here. Be you, stay you.

The truth? Because
it was always out of love.

Maslova’s Letter to Tolstoy

Before the going under, even before that,
there was a man who should have been there.
On his endless list of missed opportunities,
this was one he left off willingly.

There was a man who should have been there
yet he slipped exquisitely into nowhere
this was one he left off willingly
as he traded trophies for adventure.

And he slipped exquisitely into nowhere.
The weight of a belly didn’t hold him,
The prince left this one off willingly,
the palimpsest under his arm a virgin.

The weight of a belly didn’t hold him.
New snow would soon blot any Ink he spilt.
Avalanches of excuses buried the trophy.
Carrying the new list of unwanted, I buckled.

New snow would soon blot any Ink he spilt
on his endless list of missed opportunities.
Carrying the new list of unwanted I buckled,
before the going under, even before that.




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