Mary Madec – Five Poems

Mary Madec has a B.A. and M.A from NUI, Galway and a PhD from The University of Pennsylvania.
She has published poems here and abroad and in 2008 she won The Hennessy Prize for Emerging Poetry.
In 2010 her first collection, In Other Words was published by Salmon Poetry. She will launch her second book, Demeter Does Not Remember with Salmon Poetry, in May 2014 



And I think

You could have been
an architect

obsessed by the mathematics
and elegance of buildings.

I see you imagining parabolas,
getting excited by equations

for planes, straight lines, squares,
the problem of curves,

your real quest to know
whether the Ancient Egyptians

used an approximation of PI for Giza,
that this line of mystery in your book

between one world and another
is what we seek, particles roaming

inside and outside
the arcs of our longing,

A Muse

I meet you between the sheets
of paper where my pen falls

into squiggles and hieroglyphs
indicepherable  except to you

Your eyes guide me to a treasure,
as if you  too find something precious there

for yourself , a code you unlock,
words not the whole story

when we open our mouths
to let what’s inside out.

 Playing Basketball

I learned how to pronounce Sergei
how love pours out from the wife of the ex-Franciscan
how babies are bounced around the court in vitro

Children’s lives teased out by the subs on the sideline,
Mums comparing notes on how they themselves grow
from one decade to the next:

A baby at forty and marriage vows,
break-ups, moving house
or one last fling to find HIM,

at fifty skinny dipping, sexy all over again
all huddled in the Jacuzzi
a gaggle of girls

still learning.


Come by the backdoor
in from the rain!
Let us sift through our memories
in the back kitchen,

our wet fingers
fondling the old pages
of All in the Cooking.
not illustrated
yet on touch expanding

into images of our rummages
for milk, butter, flour, eggs
and weighing scales to bake
queen cakes

remember when we stuffed peppers
for the first time,
made béchamel
for Welsh rarebit.

We licked spoons
and listened to each other’s stories
comforted after years of not knowing
what a home is after our father’s long illness.

After death.

We figured
family again,
discovered what makes it easier
to go back out after playing house

into the rain.

The Temptation

to trust the sun
your cheer
the skin of ice on the lake,

in me the Three Fates, a single eye
to see my sorrows
in a petri dish, one at a time,

being human, a tear to clean it
after the sting of light,
the ache of insight.


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