Concise Prose. Enough Said.
purple feathers backround pattern

upended on my way to someplace

By Eileen Sheehan

Barefoot by lamplight, by curtained moonlight. Slipped
in a puddle of dog piss. Landed straight
into the arse-end of tomorrow. Can happen
like that, revelations, things of that nature.

Pain stuns me back to my dream
of the schoolyard. Surrounded by faces.
Small faces: distorted. Their eyes, bulbous
and staring. Their teeth, squared-up and grinning.
Taunting and jeering. Spitting dirt
from my mouth, resuming my place
in the game. Play it all out to the end. Play
to defeat. You, walking away from me too, your arm
round her shoulders. You don’t even belong
in this schoolyard. You shouldn’t be here in this place…

And that was the dream. Then I woke:
to the shadows of trees
animating the walls of the room.

These floorboards are real. And my back
to this wall. And the fire
in my spine.

Dog comes to nuzzle my arm.
Good doggie, I say, scratching her chin.
It is better to know.
Beside me the puddle’s meniscus
is broken. Dragged through
with my skid mark and splattered.
Luster off timber. Fingertip. Fingertip.
Gingerly, lifting myself till I’m standing.

I know you are sleeping, have heard
none of this. In the morning you won’t ask
how I am. It no longer matters. Words
are just words. Everything
is made manifest now. But I’ll play it all out
till the end. The end I already know.

You’re done here. Except
for the leaving.


Eileen Sheehan is a native of Co Kerry, Ireland. Her poetry is widely published in magazines including Poetry Ireland Review, The Shop, The Stinging Fly, The Rialto (U.K), Staple (U.K) Agenda (U.K), Pelagos (Italy) and Versal. Her work appears in many anthologies including The Kerry Anthology (ed Gabriel Fitzmaurice), The Open Door Anthology of Poetry (ed Niall MacMonagle) and Winter Blessings by Patricia Scanlan. Her poems have been broadcast on local radio as well as Ireland’s national radio station R.T.E Radio1. In August 2005 she read at St. Ambrose University, Iowa. She is active in arts administration and facilitates workshops in schools and with writers’ groups. She is on the Poetry Ireland list of approved writers for their Writers In Schools Scheme. Her collection Song Of The Midnight Fox is published by Doghouse Books.

Photo "Leaf Shadow" courtesy of Deborah Ripley, London, U.K.

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