Anne Walsh Donnelly, When you were two

Another of the prison doctor’s experiments?

Wild horses drag you from your prison cell
Shove you down velvet cushion steps
You land on a surface that feels like grass
It’s blue and smells of candyfloss
Mr Sun sits on a hill, wears a smiley face
You blink in the white light
Shut your eyes
They open again
Overhead are marshmallow clouds
Jelly babies play hide and seek in nearby trees
A green one wobbles over tugs your arm
You grab his neck to choke him
Hands turn into cola bottles
Dusted with sugar He licks them
You shake your body to unravel the chains
that strap you to a gurney
The jelly babies crowd around & laugh
You’re not trapped
This is you — when you were two

Someone To Watch Over Me

In the midst of our kissing my eyelids closed.
She lay awake tracking my sleeping breath
her hands walked the weedy path
around the girth of my body

stroked mottled skin as if it were cat fur.
An hour later I woke
the underside of my damp thigh resting on hers
my face nestled in the valley

between her jaw and collarbone.
Before I could say sorry, she whispered,
“I love watching you sleep.”
Her fingers massaged my scalp.

I moved my head so my cheek
rested on hers, sleek as a laurel leaf,
remnants of her moisturiser
as potent as a newly flowered peony.

And I can’t remember the last time
somebody watched over me.

Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Her poetry has been published in various places such as the Hennessey New Writing column of The Irish Times (July 2018), Crannóg, Boyne Berries, Cold Coffee Stand, and The Blue Nib. Her short stories have been shortlisted for competitions such as the Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, the Fish International Prize, and RTÉ Radio One’s Frances MacManus competition. She won The Blue Nib’s Spring 2018 poetry chapbook competition.

Read more of Anne’s poetry here.


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