Jac Shortland is a Cork woman. Her poetry has been published in a diversity of journals. She has been shortlisted for Hedgehog First Collection 2018, Red Line Festival 2018 and Fish Poetry Prize 2017, long listed for North West Words Poetry’16, Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2017 and Brian Dempsey Poetry Competition 2018, highly commended for Blue Nib chapbook contest and commended for Westport Arts Festival Poetry 2017. She is a regular reader at O’Bheal open mic nights. Her poems reflect the mind of a woman, who hasn’t made her mind up about any of life’s mysteries and most likely never will.

Chalky Gods

you wouldn’t make a daisy chain for the crucifix
hanging in my mother and father’s bedroom
with the wounds uncovered it felt cold

you wouldn’t make a daisy chain for the big red statue
on the turn of the stairs going up and coming down
with his hands and heart exposed 

you wouldn’t want to make a daisy chain for them
the chalky gods that were wedding presents 
and not really for adoration in our house 

but I did make a daisy chain for one 
who stood there in the low light outside our room
a little Our Lady 

I made a secret daisy chain 
and placed it carefully around her tilted head 
and hooked it over her prayer hands and onto her feet    

I made a daisy chain for her
and because I couldn’t put a candle
I put a seashell there I knew she’d like

Plastic Soldiers

Pick up your soldiers.
You always leave them lying around,
to get trampled on.

You need to take care of them.
I found a battalion of them in the gravel.
I found one covered in dog poop.
That’s disgusting!

Pick up your soldiers.
You always leave them lying around,
to get sucked up in the hoover.

You need to keep them safe.
I found a troop of them tangled in the telly wires.
I found one stuck in the plug.
That’s dangerous!

Pick up your soldiers.
You always leave them lying around
for the kittens to scatter.

You need to keep track of them.
I found green ones in the long grass,
yellow ones buried in the sand pit
and a whole regiment of red ones
in the turf bucket to be burned.
I found one floating in the honey jar.
That’s annoying!

So listen to what I have to say.
I don’t want to be the one picking up
your crushed and mangled soldiers,
when you obviously don’t care if they are lost.

I won’t say it again.
Pick up your soldiers.