Hennessy New Irish Writing: winning poems in September 2016
‘The Art of Making Macarons’ and ‘Bird of Prey’ by Deirdre Daly
Choose. Fine eggs
straight from the hay,
speckled with chicken shit
and stuck with down.
Gather and marvel at their nested
warmth. Against the curve
of a bowl, smash.
In a cupped hand allow
to sit in your palm.
The whites will trickle
through the breaches,
the yolk will rest
heavy as the sun.
Press your fingertips
together and stretch
The glassy filament is infinite,
nothing is as vital as albumen.
Your keys are in the last place
that you left them. Wrap a scarf
around your neck, wear sensible shoes.
You must disappear for at least a week.
Walk paths that do not belong on maps.
Pick sorrel, bruising it with the nib of a tooth,
your tongue will grimace against it.
Cock your head back and drink the drip
of the waning moon, the burst of milk
across the plane. Steal ripe pears
from an orchard, open wide and bite.
Take care not to wash your chin
afterwards. Tongue it later at dusk
when it is too cold to breathe.
See how the night air warps its sweetness.
Catch a hare and blanket your nose
in its pelt. Cull, bury, exhume and repeat
three days later. Dig your hands in, feel
the wanton flesh he brought to the soil.
Fill your pockets with sloe berries and wonder
how you found these, but have no gin.
It’s much too early to be thinking about a G&T.
Address your fears that your loot may curdle
the stomach and poison the blood.
Pick up a copy of the Guardian to guide you.
They’re running an article on foraging,
they always are. Remember. Never eat blue.
Return. The dust has settled
on the parquet floors, the reclaimed
kitchen counters and the upcycled
chairs that blistered your hands red.
Look at the dirt.
You have been caught slacking.
Time was unkind to your egg whites.
In the bowl, they will
look as you left them.
But they aged. Brittle now,
no longer the elastic
stickiness of first love.
Beat hard. Beat often.
Sugar them up.
Slam the perfect little discs
on the counter. Knock
the air out of them.
Wonder as they emerge
from the oven. Such pretty colours,
standing pert and buxom on dainty feet.
Resist. The urge to eat them.
Bird of Prey
when lighting her cigarette
she artfully conceals
a sheathed talon and crimson
tufts of feathers
Deirdre Daly is a writer living in Dublin. Her poetry has been published, or is forthcoming, in Crannóg, The Level Crossing, The Normal School, The Minnesota Review, WSQ and Room Magazine. Her fiction has been published in Word Riot, The Alarmist and various anthologies. She was runner-up in the 2016 Fish Publishing poetry competition.