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Image by Tim Mossholder

In Every House
(for Brona)

Walking in, rooms are empty,
Shadows purse in corners
Boxes everywhere brook dust
To a life that was vivid

We move around the house
Gathering up our minutes

Of family gatherings,
Imagine years dreamt
To times of laughter,
A still centre, this

Home shielded the light
With cupped hands;
We ask you this:

There are ghosts here,
Can you acknowledge
Their welcome when
You step within?

Keep them alive,
Let them move
From room to room,
Link hands with yours.

Or failing that, they
Dance into parcels
Joyfully eager, awaiting
Its potent dream,
This bright house?


She was a mountain
Of lions waiting,
The readied laughter
Cut with flint that
Only she knew,

Watching her tower,
Cook and quest,
Her gaze a warm
Wheel full of

Like the comics,

Placed on the table
Like food, a pulse
Allowing me
To know.

‘Pay no attention
To that shower,’
She said,

(for Richard Hugo)

Music, sometimes
Notes of wistfulness to wish the heart
Or a muffled line heard wrongly,

Sunsets too,
Plays of light within their soft depart
Where dark lies hiding strangely

Corvid clouds,
Bare trees beseeching frozen days
Headstones leaning to a dance of wind

Cormac Culkeen is a writer of poetry, fiction and short stories. He lives and works in Galway and is currently completing a BA Connect in Creative Writing in NUI Galway, returning to university full time as a mature student in 2018. His written work has been published in The Burning Bush literary magazine, Skylight 47 and the Vox Galvia series in the Galway Advertiser. Cormac was shortlisted for the Cúirt Literary Festival’s new writing prize in 2013 and was a featured reader at Over the Edge in 2012. Visit him on YouTube.


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