Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Betsy Burke- A Poem

Coconut Skins

Coconut skins take me to Ireland where the benches are always wet,
So we stand on soiled sidewalks and smoke our cigarettes.
Beyond this place the grass is stained with grey pieces of the sky,
Where rebellion drifts from shifting lips beneath the reigning divide.

Coconut skins take me to Ireland where Kilmainham Gaol stands,
Where goodbyes creep from floorboards and grab at swinging hands.
To corridors where empty steps echo budding threats of May,
And heavy doors silence boldness but can’t keep the pain at bay.

Coconut skins take me North to where the Giant’s Causeway is,
Where ladders of slick stone find the sky and tell her of their myth.
She tells them all she’s seen and they tell her what they’ve felt, and
In the hallway of the horizon they speak in golden wisps of tarnished bells.

Coconut skins take me to Ireland where we drank to your health,
With bottles of golden amber sauce collecting fingerprints on the shelf.
Where we spoke in curses beneath the moon’s smirking crest,
And rolled clumsy cigarettes of pinched coconut flesh.

Coconut skins take me back to velvet visions of verdant green,
to rain that paints cobbled streets and slaps at roseate cheeks;

to the dead of night when the moon played tag with the stars,
to Derry City and those reaching walls of the Guildhall;

to the ache of red roses and music’s careful sting,
to the sound of strings searching for harmony with the past they sing;

to Heaney and Muldoon who walk the partition line,
and fed us pears and truffles as we talked about the troubled times.

In an open doorway that lends the sun,
and chants the march of céad míle slán.

In an open doorway that bends the wind,
and tastes the bitterness of where it’s been.

In an open doorway with my tobacco tin,
leaning on verses with fingertips.

In an open doorway singing coconut skins,
that’s where you will find me in Ireland. 

Betsy Burke is achieving her BA in English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has been published in the Coraddi, Willows Wept Review and The Bastille

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