The shape of the landscape spoke of her lips.
The way the ranges lay low in the rugged distance
all chapped and scaled from the constant squalls; the whittling ice.
She opened the crag of her mouth, and the tongue was a salt marshland
stocked with waders and stoats. They fished through the reeds and the bitter
vetch. They ventured into the dome of her corbelled palette to orate their foraging
thoughts. The dusk moves on, the dawn moves in and they move off, as light slices
down through the gap in her capped front teeth.
She holds a wedge from the gap in those limestone teeth.
Keeps it as a tool with which to test the way the winds blow.
Her eyelashes come from the wandering hedgehog; strong rushes
woven into hoods, thatched visors to shield her hare quick eyes, and to house
the long stag-heart gaze. The hedgehog made off to become a mole,
was part mole already with the long brown nose, and glad to be rid
of his quiver of quills as he dug down deeper away from the Queen.
She took her nose from the beak of an eagle, recycled her mind from the dog fox
and a bearded jackdaw made up her chin. She has the frantic fingers of a spider
but the palms of her hands are badger big. A garland of blackthorn and oak
twists around her hair, beech clogs clad her feet and between each toe
grows the rowan and the scarlet holly.
The berries she gives to the fortunate rook.
Now the canine frosts are cast in cold iron,
and winter storms suck the sap out of prong tongued trees.
This is when the hare in her eyes will saddle the wind, will race the long shadows
and chase mountain goats; chase mountain rams to be sacrificed for her own good.
She employs a gizzard to chew on their entrails, grates fog into sleet from the bark
of their gnarled horns, and then sounds out a summon to the wolf hounds waiting
in the woods as her eyes shine like demons and she moves across the peaks,
swift as a swallow.
She roars her orders through the rain; a report comes baying back
from the distance. A sad and desolate call from the hill, from the throat
of a scorched vessel thousands of years old, and covered in stones.
She is bound to our time through the weight of the ages
and she watches from the wave of the mountain, in the coil of it
as the rusting wind plucks at the wire in the lyre of her larynx.
It suckles on her nostrils, fights the foxes in her ears
and drives home an air, through that shining gap
between her teeth.
Cróna Gallagher lives in Co. Leitrim, Ireland. Her poetry and fiction have been published in quality literary journals and anthologies both nationally and internationally. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries at home and across Europe.
Rain 48 was published in Global Poetry Anthology 2013 by Signal Editions and The Montreal Poetry Prize.