Three poems by Emer Fallon

‘The Brickworks’, ‘New Gods’ and ‘After the Operation’ are this month’s Hennessy New Irish Writing winning poems

Emer Fallon’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection competition, the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Bridport Prize. She also writes fiction

Emer Fallon’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection competition, the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Bridport Prize. She also writes fiction

 

THE BRICKWORKS

Never set foot
in the place

our parents warned,
but something drew us
to its metal girders
thin with rust,
the loose flap of tin
drumming out
a tup tup tap.

Never set foot
in the place

our parents warned,
but the dry pull
of red brick dust,
the elongated
hiisssss of a stone
cast into space
kept us coming back.

Never set foot
in the place

our parents warned,
but still we stayed
to play, to tightrope
walk on walls,
arms outstretched
like birds
about to take flight.

NEW GODS

Year in, year out, from her windowsill
the virgin surveys the room.
Walls crack, damp blooms
and then one day a toilet appears,
along with strips of warped board,
rotten planks and picture frames
on the patch of grass outside.

Next week the house itself is gone.
Muck flows and sticks to tyres.
Muddy lakes collect, retreat.
Borne away on a mound of rubble,
the statue lands up in a neighbouring
field. Soil settles, silence falls.
Frost steals her blue robes.

The builders find the bottles under
the hearthstone - caked in dirt but still
intact, there’s one the colour of Sheep’s Bit.
Plucked from the earth and rinsed with care,
they’ll be displayed in the brand new hall
where the sun stalks in and decants
their colour onto sleek teak floors.

AFTER THE OPERATION 

They come in the night and early dawn
when a drip has slipped out or an iv bag
empties - first a golden-skinned man
in soft shoes who slides a cannula into
my vein in a single fluid move.
‘Where are you from?’ I ask him.
‘South Sea Islands,’ he sighs.
The guy who appears the second night is huge,
loose-limbed and vast with a blinding smile.
I laugh because we share the same joke -
morphine’s a funny thing.

In the morning the dead people come,
one by one, out of the light, to murmur
their names and whisper ‘remember.’
There is a boy, and an angry nurse
with bright red lips and raging curls.
When the place gets too full
I ask them to leave. Next day
their names are all gone. But sometimes,
years on, I see the boy’s hair, in a leaf,
or a swathe of gold grass gone to seed
and his face, a question, an echo.

Emer Fallon’s poems have been published in The Stinging Fly, The Poetry Bus, The SHOp, and Poetry Ireland Review. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection competition, the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Bridport Prize. She also writes fiction.