Laura Enright is a 21 year old writer from Co Limerick studying BA Creative Writing with English & Irish at the National University of Ireland, Galway, specialising in poetry. She has won numerous national awards for her poetry, namely at Listowel Writers’ Week. In 2017, her poetry will be published by Picaroon Poetry and the Hidden Channel zine.
The Woman Who Raised Me
When I think of the earliest years
every memory includes her.
In the evenings when finished school I was aware
that going home wasn’t the same for me as others,
she wasn’t my mother, grand-mother,
I wouldn’t call her a nanny, she hated the term ‘child-minder’.
I remember dreading seeing my school report
‘to be signed by a parent or guardian’
I smiled because I could get her to sign it.
It was rare for her to get mad
even with my brother’s roguery
or my tendencies towards sibling rivalry.
The lines around her eyes were only creases from laughing
and she told me once you get wrinkles from wisdom.
A cigarette perched daintily between her index and thumb
I can’t help but imagine her in her youth in a smoky jazz club
Her only complaint, I didn’t write about her enough.
I sit at a table with her grandchildren
quietly nursing a cup of tea, thinking
what a compliment it is to be considered family.
They make conversation easily,
she kept the poem you wrote for her in a drawer beside her bed
I couldn’t have been more than ten when I wrote it.
It was the first one I wrote for her,
the second came just last night.
She would have loved the round of applause.
An envelope with my name scrawled on it slips through my letterbox,
a laminated card in her memory
a picture of her healthy, smiling at me
but what struck me were my own words —
a snippet from the poem I wrote for the ceremony
typed neatly underneath.
It would be in the pockets of her friends,
the wallets of her sons, on the walls of her grandchildrens’ homes.
They thanked me again for the poem,
it was the least I could do.
The Ladder at the Pier
I leave the coast
on a tiny blue and red rowing boat
place my shoes on the pier
and jump right in
I row to a beach and look along it
searching for those certain blue eyes
that I only half-remember
but all I see are strangers staring,
why are they sunbathing at night?
I give up, row back to land
the only sound is me pushing water
I struggle up the rungs of the ladder
lose my footing
I don’t know
whether I made it up the ladder at all