Friday Poem

Holding Rosa

The body does not long to be unencumbered.
The arm wants a child to hold away
from the boiling pot. I miss it: their fury
strident as junior paramilitaries,
their extravagant grievances, their
bottomless sleep.
Mostly I miss their small bodies,
sweet as summer ices, as berries.

We can be parted from the sea and live.
It is like overcoming a stammer, or a tick.
By daily teaching the body new habits,
planets are persuaded out of orbit.

In seconds it is all undone. Holding Rosa
in a Dublin hotel is going to sleep
in a house on the shore and waking up
to the same sound. The magnetic dock
of child to hip, earth to moon, time stolen.

by Mary O'Malley

from A Perfect V
publisher: Carcanet, Manchester, 2006