Kathleen McCoy is a poet and professor in a SUNY creative writing program. Her first book, Green and Burning, Glas Agus a Dho, was a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards from Canada. In spring 2019 she will return to Ireland on sabbatical to research and write prose and poetry on identity poetics.

Forty Shades of Fog

Carboniferous stripes, tricks of light
play at the brim of Branaunmore,

siren-singer, lament of widows and mums.
Fog restrains the cragged Cliffs of Moher,

swells slapping at their fog-sod base
thick with burren lit by chandelier of fog,

rasher served on silver fog-platter
with fog’s blessing. The long, quick

afternoon is hedged with fog, rife with fog,
rolling on fog pillows, misted on a mast

of fog, blasted with fog, basted with fog’s
viscous soup. Three thousand miles away

I still live in fog. The world wears a grand
hat of fog, our leaders feast on vats of fog,

fog swirls between us, tries to clean us, festers,
pesters, tries to best us, get us to forget

to look for sun, for up to O’Brien’s Tower
lurk forty and more shades of green, yet

across that stalwart bastion of kings
all year flicker forty shades of fog.

How to Marry Words

Tamp your secret wish into your craw
(swallow hard, breathe), take a red square
of tissue (saying nothing), scratch spare
molecules of graphite onto the square

to confess the truth (but sparely),
then, having rolled the red squarely
about your index finger, stand it up
on end on the altar (you used to dub

a patio table), flick the match, (hold
your breath as) it ignites in red
and yellow, then flakes into dark
grey feathers that (with the work

of breath of every sentient being) relent
to standing in waning light. Then ascend.

For The Galway Review 7, (Printed Edition)