Thursday Poem

The Squirt Under the Bed

Who’s the squirt under your bed
that unfurled his fist yesterday
to pluck at my skirts? At dusk
his goggley eyes seized me in their stare

his lips in a crimson sulk
a tumid tongue thrust through them.
In the early hours I listened to his babble
and now I catch a whiff of his nappy.

Is he your sprog or is it thinkable
that he’s mine – the infant
snatched by the hag of Bull Balbhae
who reached a long arm down our chimney?

Is he someone’s wild oats
or a changeling from the fairy fort?
The youngster you always yearned to have
or a child I’ve conjured up?

It doesn’t matter a damn.
Let’s deck him out in vest and pants
or in ribbons and a frock
we’ll put him in the pram
and truck together round the block
regale him with the oddities.

by Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
from Meirge an Laoich
publisher: Coisceim, Dublin, 2013
translation: 2016, Cathi Weldon