Katie O’Sullivan, The Birthplace of Rain

The Birthplace of Rain

On the bridge in the mist, navigating gutters,
Loose cobbles ready to catch you out.
On campus for coffee beans,
On the path for the foreseeable,
On the road when the 405 is spluttering.
Head down when you pass soggy duvets; don’t forget.

The shoppers look the Salmon Weir over
As students intercept the rugby rush,
Jive with Canon lenses, frame frazzled smiles,
Merengue with Novena folk,
Dance an afternoon into touch.

The cathedral domes
Get neither cent nor backward glance.
Gear bags resist,
Stretch like sunset’s descent
Into taxi huddles and umbrella catacombs.

The Corrib rushes,
Petrol-blue, grey-brown,
Illuminates in shadows.

Now the sun is laid to rest.
It happens every summer
When it makes the grave mistake
Of visiting rain’s birthplace.

Street lamps and past discussions
Light up beneath my eyelids.
I analyse every stress and lilt
Until they wither to mute whispers
And the padding of feet.

I lead them into battle,
Wine-blind and optimistic till
One Doc Marten sends a memo I’d misplaced,
Would you fuck a cliché?

Tramping through night — post-prinks, post-taxi, post-scratching-along-in-the-queue, post-searching-for-proof-of-age, post-crippling-your-dancing-feet, post-elbows-in-the-ribs, post-Mister-Brightside-bellows, post-silence-in-the-smoking-area, post-pretending-to-smoke, post-battle-at-the-taxi-rank, post-spice-bag-and-tap-water, post-dagger-passing-for-the-couch, post-midnight-lurches-and-morning-key-rattles.

I slip, blank, into morning.
Seagulls debate the State,
Another sheepskin boy sings Wonderwall.

Swathes of tourists insulate Lynch’s Castle,
Those late from lunch
Dart through coordinating couples.
Selfie sticks wave me on
But sandwich boarders frown.

Turn right to Finnegan’s,
As the signs instruct, half-awake,
Just to linger by the windows,
Dawdle on Newtownsmith,
Walk past the canal.

The sun’s held hostage again. I know I’m going to die.
‘A pity too. She nearly had the degree done.’

Waddle furiously,
Half-suspecting my fear has a scent,
That I’ll be robbed. Or shot. Or stabbed.

But my bus is here,
Motor humming outside the cathedral,
Which makes it convenient
To rattle off a travelling prayer.

Get me there safely. Return me straight away.

Katie O’Sullivan is a third year creative writing student at NUI Galway, studying under Elaine Feeney. She spends her time reading, writing, and stacking shelves. She has had multiple poems and short stories published in NUI Galway’s Writer’s Society publication, NUI Galway’s student newspaper SIN, and The Galway Review. She is working towards her first poetry collection.

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