The Signorelli Moment
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
She’s back. Key in the door,
Dr Proteus feels giddy. Was this the house?
Didn’t she remember
a frescoed wall with resurrected limbs?
There’s a thump of a hoover, a radio plays,
a dead person greets her.
She’s dead too, she thinks. A smooth nude
salutes a skeleton and gestures to introduce
while another levers
a strong thigh-bone out of white clinging clay.
Flesh has fallen away.
Dr Proteus considers. She looks around
for the kitchen doorway, and finds
backyard, rubbish bins,
a fire-escape. She climbs, inhales,
but something grips her by the ankle,
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s The Sun-Fish won the Griffin International Award for Poetry. This poem is from Berryman’s Fate: A Centenary Celebration in Verse (Arlen House), a new anthology to mark John Berryman’s centenary.