Ailbhe Darcy


Then, in the hushed cathedral, Bruce Conner uncovers the monstrance.
Vast! Balloonish! Horribly vamping!
Finger by finger, it peels off its gloves:
Roll up, roll up, the death of the death of God!
And the horrible repetition
of prayer, without a shiver. If we closed our eyes
we might be nothing, a congregation.
O, Bruce.
Who slots annihilation together?
Is it for us we fall or you?
Everything is better in the cinema,
where you can be sure someone means it.
It’s true, I read signs
and wonders everywhere. I fumble
in my pocket for the rosary,
the ventilator.


In my pocket I find the pacemaker for my brother’s skipping heart,
possessed with my body’s own heat, the size
of a filibert, articulated, stainless steel.
It seems the spinning top from another spectacle,
a talisman by which Leo di Caprio can tell he’s real.
With a whirr its spindled metal limbs unclick,
its antennae spring up. By screenlight I spy
it is a kind of bug. I hunker down beneath
the cinema’s velveteen seats, amidst the smell of popcorn,
the carpet damp with spilled soft drinks, the people’s feet. As if
to keep it safe. As if I could. It scuttles among the hairs, the freckles
on my wrist. I turn my wrist with it, to give it road
to scuttle. If there is a reason, I forget it – not to be here, doing this.



DOG 193


I am a dog she made for a friend

love me love me love me

out of strange sighs with no context,

the tree’s elbow.

My teeth.

Sometimes he will find me in his bed,

the gift of myself, and tell me no,

but I will always be where he wants me

since she has had to go

but she has left me her secret fingers.

I will remind him to clip his fingernails.

I will bury his hands in the garden if they itch

and dig them up to nuzzle.

He should understand

that he can never find another dog

to replace me, or a woman,

and when his death comes

it will have my eyes, my rough hair.






In some forgotten future each displaced caress
must creep home to make its peace with us,
swacked with love it cannot tell from self;

each of the visions that swim at borders
of our dazzled vision must come into focus,
there can be no other end to this. Our city

takes its form from the desert it opposes; we
could settle nowhere else. I write you fetish after fetish,
line them up and toss them, dolls into the oubliette.



AILBHE DARCY lives in South Bend, Indiana. Her first collection, Imaginary Menagerie, was published by Bloodaxe Books (London) in 2011. Selections of her work are also included in the Bloodaxe anthologies Identity Parade and Voice Recognition, and in her chapbook A Fictional Dress (tall-lighthouse, 2009). She occasionally writes poetry criticism for The Critical Flame and The Stinging Fly, and co-edits an online magazine of new Irish art and writing, called Moloch. 

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