Maeve McKenna – Portrait

Maeve McKenna is from Dublin and now lives in Sligo. In 2018, her work was shortlisted for the Red Line Poetry Competition and highly commended in the iYeats International Poetry Competition. In 2019, she was highly commended in the Frances Ledwidge Poetry competition and longlisted in the Over The Edge Poetry competition.  Her work has been published in The Cormorant and Sonder Magazine and her poems have appeared widely online. She is working towards her first poetry collection.


You know the indent on your furrowed brow/
between your eyes/ as you listen/
that burrows deeper as you understand/
and the vein that pulses from the edge of your hairline/
to the lashes at the corner of your left eye/a kind of facial heartbeat/
or your eyebrows as they snake along your forehead/
twitching as the mood changes/
and your ice blue eyes/furtively disguised by sleepless lids /
diverting their gaze/fearing the view/
you realise don’t you the skin that puckers at the base of your eyes/
are fault lines/
that the pinch of your lips as you try not to smile/
is your attempt not to gloat/
and the cracked sound of your voice as it tapers/
how words have become a blade/so you soften the edges/
you know don’t you as you stroke your hair with your hand/
leave it in a tossed heap/and look stunned/
when you sidle your arm across your chest/
grip your shoulder/carved and taut/
a shield to the blows doled out by us/
and your two day growth/that you scratch and stroke/
like grit to my cheek/is the roughness of this/
you understand don’t you/ as your fleeing feet land to the floor/
laden with baggage/you to the door/I walk too/
and you must know as you turn away/
your wide back stooped/your head hung/your size halved/
your gaze fixed low to the path from where this came/
you leave with me this portrait.


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1 Response to Maeve McKenna – Portrait

  1. Bonnie Ann O'Keeffe says:

    Maeve then is so lovely. I keep reading it. You have a special gift

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