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Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh

What can you see from the top of Benbulben?

Two hundred kilometers is a long way to drive to give someone a hug

who has not seen another human face in five months

except the postman and the DHL delivery man

and the young buck from Dromahair that delivers the coal

and maybe the Aos Sí who come to say “Look! Look at Binn Ghulbain in the distance!

Nach bhfuil álainn í?”

But poitín warms the heart and soul

She will be the envy of all the other butches on zoom

Chain smoking Pall Malls with her newly acquired side shave

It was an act of trust based on a steadfast belief

that all queer girls instinctively know how to cut hair

Experience has taught her many things

How to weave electrical wires to make the world move faster

and how to make everyone else’s life more convenient

how to mother

She once tried to make lucite paperweights after a DIY orchiectomy

twenty-eight years ago

to give some purpose to that which was neither use nor ornament

A ginger cat walks across the stone floor covered in curls

as she keeps an ear on the quiet road for the postman

waiting for the box from Moldova that keeps her alive

in spite of disdainful warnings from self-appointed sentinels

who don’t mind at all if her ringlets grow an oak tree

The next time she sees the DHL man in his yellow van

he will deliver her daughter’s ashes.


Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh is a poet and writer from Drogheda, Ireland. You can read her work in Pile Press, Splonk, A New Ulster and eleswhere. She co-hosts the Irish Mythology Podcast and tweets at @stephie08.


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