‘This poem first appeared in Poetry Ireland Review (ed. Vona Groarke), December 2016.
I put eyes and tongues into every
dumb object I encounter, finding
smiles in fire-grates, laughter
tinkling in the servants’ bell.
I console the long silver spoon
as I polish her and all her daughters.
I stroke the cheeks of dusty clocks,
wipe sweat from leaky windows.
As I scrape up luncheon crumbs
he grumbles again: his women left him
out of spite. Tears mottle skin as dry
as moths entombed in wardrobes.
My cuckoo master laid his eggs
in umpteen nests: wife,
but never prune-fleshed me.
I used to hear his grunts then watch
them scuttle from his room. Now
I cannot shake the cat-in-the-wall
ache bricked-up in my chest.
I have stayed here too long.
I am as dried out and stuck
as rice abandoned in a pot.
I’ll never leave.