Creative Corona: Day 23

Coyau / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Laura McKenna was conferred with a PhD in Creative Writing (Fiction) from UCC last year. She is a novelist, short story writer and poet. Bridget Sprouls is a graduate of the inaugural MA in Creative Writing in  2013. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker and she published her first collection, The Remaining Years, last year. 


Mum and Jasper in the Morning


She rises before eight to oversee his peeing, no matter what the season, weather,

or her own inclination —

Downstairs, she ignores her damn knee, and while he leaps and circles, she makes a cup of tea

Takes an old rain coat, slung over her dressing gown, and opens the door onto the garden.


Onto darkness or lemon dawn or barley sugar skies or low slung cloud

and seeping rains or

The trickle drip from last night’s storm, the pots tossed on windblown grass,

or soaring birdsong,

Or onto stillness, a hush of frost, a slip of muffled snow. Or the grey heron

unfolding from the dark pond.


While he snuffles through soil or poppies or sodden leaves, she pauses —

To lift a drooping hellebore

Scour her hostas, pluck and crush a snail underfoot, brush past a salvia,

deadhead a rosebush,

Pickpocket seed pods, water saplings in the greenhouse.


Though why she bothers she doesn’t know

Having no more space

to grow anything.


And yet —


She turns back up the garden again, calling for Jasper,

carrying inside

Earth on her feet, scent of salvia

on her hands.

Laura McKenna




The hour arrives of illicit shadow puppets,


summer juries barking

in tiki torch light.


Scenery: gritty floors,

hydrants of sweat.


Hear death trot his pristine gutters,

the tinkling of muds,


wizard of messy removals.


Build a mantel with these unintended bones — 




for the ceiling popcorn,


marrow summoned up the stack

to drift along




Quiver and sing

Oh candy!


Oh monstrous rewards!


So bright with microscopic morgues. . . .


Loved me more than breath she said




Who was it she meant?


Some decades.

Some structures occasionally




Sometimes in the half-light,

custom knife-making stares innocently from the shelf.


Conifers sway where they will die.


How special to bleed

the right amount.


Bridget Sprouls


TOMORROW: “Black and Red” by Robert Feeney and “Revenge on the World” by Mona Lynch