Mary Madec has appeared most recently in The Irish Times (April 1, 2017) Stand , The Cork Literary Review , and anthologized in Poets’ Quest for God(Eyewear), Washing Windows? Irish Women Write Poetry (Arlen House), and Even The Daybreak (Salmon Poetry) 2016. She is working on her third collection.

Three Decades Between Myself and the Old Curmudgeon

I doorstep him, whom I might have called my first love,
wonder what kind of old he is?

How will it look— I’ve seen him in the distance—
brittle bones, sarcopenia?

A jacket too long in the sleeve
too big on the shoulder, a snow of dead cells.

I think of old times over
and over, his soul under a pile of newspapers

and pillars of books like the ones inside the hall door.
Philosophy, theology, human development,

definitions of pneuma in the fusty air,
the curtains closed day and night in the high windows.

What is he doing time for, I wonder
as time is undoing him?

The air is still fresh out here
and two roses are helplessly beautiful

in the forecourt.

Winter Storm at Coole

The wind rises suddenly outside Coole Park,
shakes the car and me. The trees sway,
set free their limbs

and, grasping at the air,
swirl in a macabre dance,
fall dangerously into my path.

The branches of ash, bleeding their red berries
flash and morph into STOP

All I know of shelter torn
and thrown angrily by the elements

Penelope at the moment of knowing Odysseus would not return
for a long time as she cursd his boat to the mercy of easterlies.

The wipers beat out the uprooting methodically
as if to wipe my tears, swipe twigs off the windscreen,
violently soothe me.

Why did I come this road at all?
And now, can I see where it leads,
where I could possibly go?

My heart is lobbed onto my lap from the impact
of sudden brakes and then the road frees up,
some-one else’s doing—

I take my chance, speed off before a backup.