Mary Deely is a graduate of the MA (Writing) in NUI Galway 2018. Recent published work includes An Ocean for the Old in Ropes Journal. A short film she wrote, Stalking Colin Farrell, was broadcast on RTÉ.

My Trusty Steed

We called him Dink Dink,
but that changed to Donk Donk
in honour of his mother.

He lived in the field
next to us in Ballyheigue
and everyday we fed him
after tea at 6 O’ clock.

were his typical refrains.
I think that meant I love you
or maybe life is pain.

Sometimes he pulled a cart of milk
down the road, shooting me an abashed look
from behind his blinkers.

Other times I sat on him,
using worn rope for reins –
I wanted him to run,
but his wont was to stand still.

I wished I was a cowgirl
on a Wyoming ranch
so he became my trusty steed,
no more a creamery mule.


Flopping over on the wrong side are his long, flyaway wisps,
I return them to the right side with his red pocket comb,
sweeping them over the hill of his shiny head and
securing them in place with her l’oreal hairspray –
mothering my father and his unruly ribs.

We go to the ocean and he walks along the pier –
his coat protects him
from the cold and other hardships,
but the wind shows no regard
for this morning’s hairstylings:

His ribs are free again, floating around his head,
tossing up dinghies and canoes that
bounce and struggle on the waves,

What spray is there for all of this?

None, but he says

Next time you might remember to bring my hat…


For The Galway Review 7, (Printed Edition)