Poem of the week: Freak wonder sky

A new work by Afric McGlinchey

Before I see the smoke
running from the house like a scared dog,
before I remember the caramel in the pot,
the stove plate I might have forgotten to turn off,
before I think of Juno asleep
in the last room of the cottage
fifty metres away,
before I birdfly the dune,
the road back to the house,
burst through the front door,
before I lift my t-shirt to block out the fumes,
slam shut the kitchen door with its long tongues of fire,
and door after door down the corridor
to hold back the smoke,
sprint my hair loose, yank at the last knob,
which won't open, which won't open, which won't open
until I twist the other way,
and stumble in, gasping,
lift her out of the bed,
nestle her face to my chest
so her green eyes are covered,
the way they bring horses out of a fire,
and Juno's legs grip around my waist
as I plunge back through the reek
seeping from door chinks and fractures –
before I see it all,
I stand on the brow of the sand dune
and say this is the end of the world.

Afric McGlinchey's collections include The Lucky Star of Hidden Things and Ghost of the Fisher Cat (both Salmon). She is a winner of the Hennessy Award