Let it be said, I cut a nick in my own skin
and by a spit became blooded to them all;
Maeve swaddled in clean cloth like a gem
as her mother, aged sixteen, leaned against
the kitchen counter and watched me hold;
Breege and Marie found in a trailer
by the river speaking in a twisted song;
Emer who was always going home;
Niamh who I was wild for and who was wild
for me, but who held me under in the pool
until both of us were dragged out of the water
Dara who pulled her shirt up to reveal
a string of roses on her ribs. Here are the gifts
of my father she said;
Grace who could fix any error
with a piece of purple gum;
Sarah, pure as water — bold as fre.
I can still see her tear across the hill
on that guy’s motorbike,
high-headed and ready for battle;
tailed women, denim-stealers, alley-girls
in White Musk with nine lives:
these were my sisters.
We argued over top bunks.
We bled on sheets.
We were four in a room the winter the house was falling down.
We wrote letters to the man on the radio.
We scanned the news for names of the dead.
We curled letters inside bottles and threw them out to sea.
We snapped wishbones, swore on graves, buried our treasure.
We swung the gold of our mothers over our palms
three times and asked the air:
will I be loved? Yes or No?
Yes or no?
Yes or no?
ANNEMARIE NÍ CHURREÁIN is a poet from North West Donegal. She is the author of Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) and Town (The Salvage Press, 2018). In 2019 she is the Commissioned Writer at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and a Writer In Residence at Maynooth University, Kildare.
More information from www.studiotwentyfive.com .