Issue 1

You bend time with the force of your cry
Can it be only thirty grains
Since I have clutched you to me
Thrashing and wild,
Force of a hurricane

A blind alchemist, I try every trick
In a book I can’t read in the dark:
Potions and patience, feverish feeding,
Pleading to your raging heart.

Teeth tearing through the surface of you,
Your tears and my wordless cry.
Sleepwalker ripped from the island of sleep,
Weight of a year on my eyes.
No mother’s kisses, no father’s touch,
No stemming this boiling tide;
Your tiny craft slipped away from its mooring,
Nothing to soothe you but time.

I wait in the dark, holding my breath
Until yours at last steadies and slows.
Nerves on the outside,
Grateful for silence,
Wanting to leave,
Cannot go.

Your sleeping is fitful, little red gums
Inflamed with the pain you can’t say.
I wait till it’s safe, peer at your face,
Guiltily tiptoe away.
Knowing the storm is far from being over,
Sleeplessly straining to hear.
Counting the minutes remaining till morning,
The ghost of your cry in my ear.

Jennifer O’Neill Kaan

Jennifer O’Neill Kaan is an Irish poet, singer and teacher from Louth, and has lived in Sussex, England for ten years. She has stolen moments between singing in the band, Caveau, and the happy chaos of raising her two boys, to write. Her poetry seeks to explore questions of identity, parent-child relationships and the weight of history.