My freshly drawn pint of stout
calls to mind his collar.
I raise the glass, tongue its rim,
let creamy head cover my top lip.
Stroke the side with my thumb,
lift it higher than he used to raise
the host during benediction.
Wish I was sitting in the front row,
drifting with the incense he’d disperse
into the musty church air.
Eileen’s perfume never smelt as good.
He’d married us, baptised our only child.
When I told him his black hair
reminded me of Guinness,
he made me promise to be a pioneer
the rest of my life.
I’d have nailed myself to the cross
I drain my glass, stare at the
creamy residue clinging to its insides,
feel like Lot’s wife taking her last look
at the destruction of Sodom,
wait for God to turn me to salt.
His Roman collar lies
in the bottom drawer
of my classroom desk
buried in its grave of chalk stubs.
Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in the west of Ireland. Her work has been published in several literary outlets including The Irish Times, Crannóg and Boyne Berries. She won The Blue Nib Winter/Spring 2018 Poetry chapbook competition and the OTE 2018 Fiction Slam. Her debut poetry chapbook, The Woman With An Owl Tattoo, which reflects on her discovery of her true sexual identity, in mid-life, will be published in May 2019. Her debut short story collection will be published in September 2019.