Esther Murbach, born in the middle of the 20th century, grew up in Basel/Switzerland. She lives in Basel and Galway. She studied languages, history and philosophy in Basel and Berlin. After working as a journalist and translator for many years, she is now a a freelance author writing German and English. Her work so far contains four novels, one short story collection and one poetry collection, all published in Switzerland; a new bilingual collection of non-fiction, short fiction and poetry coming out in spring 2017. In Ireland, her work has appeared in The Galway Review, The Galway Review Anthology, The Galway Advertiser and Crannóg.

Taking Molly for a Ride

Of all the ladies
he could take his pick
from the Galway harem
on this dismal morning
he hadn’t wanted
to take just her for a ride

Jenny it should have been
the sturdy one
but when trying to turn on Jenny
she fumed
wouldn’t cool down
in spite of his efforts
to soothe her

The bitch made him lose
his breakfast break

he had no choice
he must molest Molly
his elegant darling
with soft suspension
and flexible hinges
she who when gently cajoled
performed like a gazelle

Sorry, my love, he sighed
my stomach rumbles
my mood is cranky
as I approach you
none of this your fault

I wanted to spare you
today’s rocky ride
you deserve better
just gentle jiving
on a smooth surface

The clients
want to see us perform though
no matter what
that’s what they paid for
to mount you –
we have to take
the show on the road!

He did his best to guide her
through familiar motions
on a bumpy track
suffering with her
on every groan she uttered
when hitting a pothole

At last
the agony ended

At their destination
he pulled her softly
to the side
and they came to rest
in the centre of Clifden

The clients
felt a bit shaken
but when dismounting
they still said, thank you,
secretly stating:
this bus was something else!


A reef of bookshelves
is his habitat
in the deep blue sea
of Charlie Byrne’s

Countless volumes
flitting in and out
like multi-coloured fish

Novelties he catches
before they have
a chance to hide
in their allotted space

Whales or small fry
none escape his eye

Vintage nibbles
camouflaged and rare
he draws infallibly
from their nooks and crannies

He is the largehead moray
with insatiable appetite
for printed fare

His needle-teeth
gnaw their way
through the guts
of many a prey

But, oh miracle!

The predator
feeds on meaning
not on matter

Mental food
is getting stored
in the voluminous pate
of the gentle giant
ultimate bookworm

All objects
of his voraciousness
remain unscathed

Fading Eden

The past is not where you left it. This onslaught of rapture,
an earthquake which fractured all of you to the core,
sweet lava quelling from depths ere unknown – to store
or freeze such heat is futile and will not recapture

incredulous wonder. The tong which held your heart
in loving grip, the red-hot sickle which tore
a gash through your gut so freeing you asked for more
of this searing turmoil which ripped old structures apart

to a puzzle whose pieces, disfigured and singed at the edges,
you tried to assemble, old self-image blurred, washed away.
Your tremulous hand refitted clumsy wedges

creating a new form at last which had to be glued
to bind. The sight of it makes your memory stray
to the past, a fading Eden which can’t be renewed.