In Our Place
by Anthony DiMatteo
Patience, the heron knows I want
to turn him into patience, and since
he is the great blue heron, he knows
I want to cast him as what turns blue
even unto death from great patience.
He stands in a deluge, bill tucked under
one wing, his racing stripe hidden,
next to the lake he hunts in. Now
nothing can be done in the dark rain.
He catches sight of me through a window
though I have lurked so mindful
not to disturb him, so mistrusting he is
of anything impatient men do, like trying
to turn him into a poem. He scowls
at my shadow behind the curtain
the way a mountain lion once did
on a fire road, showing me how little
right any of us have in being wherever
we are, warning against the foolish trust
that things will return to normal,
the hope that the rain will not outlast
our need to eat and shriek a little song
when things go the way we like
and blue means sky, not misery.
by Jeanne Wagner
I’m sixteen again and it’s eight in the morning,
gravity shoving me down hill
to the bus stop,
each leg reaching out in turn to halt
this downward plunge.
I’m remembering what it’s like
to wear a jacket
of bright cherry red,
too tight in the shoulders,
a woolen pleated skirt bouncing
between my knees.
Back at the house,
my mother bends over a jigsaw puzzle
she won’t have a lifetime
She’s already done the border
and is closing
the big blank space in the center.
I’ve learned in school that a motion,
will go on forever
if there’s no opposing force,
as if I could freefall down this street
right into the bay.
Last night I translated the part where Dido
does it with Aeneas in a cave,
though in the end she’ll pay the price.
And by tomorrow afternoon
they’ll have taken my mother away,
my father stuffing pieces of The Golden Hind
back into their box.
There’s one still turned upside
down on the floor,
and I’m afraid when I pick it up,
I’ll find the usual strip of sky
with just a strip of cherry red, the color
of my sleeve.
by Rachel Bennett
People caution, “Dublin
has changed,” which is another
way of saying, “I'm afraid
to forget who I was.” Whether
Dublin changed or not, Dublin
would change. Eye doctors
are never out of work.
Perhaps we can know where
we are but not how fast
we’re going. If Dublin is not
nostalgic for our hand-me-down
selves, why can’t we take
the ravens with the sold signs?
The smell of sea’s perpetual,
the watercolor skies. Exactly
the right things are immutable.
And sometimes change is
immutable and its circling
back. The young proprietress
considering whether to buy
new glass jars to display
the scones is as old and
charmed as the gone bookstalls
on Bachelor’s Walk and Aston’s
Quay. As old and charmed as
the Glasnevin ghosts and the day,
years ago, when we met.