She’s scribbling promises again, making plans where she knows
I’ll find them. Today, she collects treefall with our girls, all neighbour-
windowsill chatter, her easy closed-gate lean. She presses leaves to brown
paper, shows our eldest that colour means each season can be savoured,
how not everything is lost because Momma cried on the drive home.
I watch from my corner as she leads small hands towards questions in dry
Connemara walls. It’s as if this Autumn garden understands how
treasure translates to tiny fingers. And when the three come in, soil-soft hands hiding
in wells of coat sleeves, her promises are held there too, in small
palms and the way they hold my face, how I feel necessary under their touch.
In the evening when I’m grief low, she grounds me with her weight, keeps me with her,
here and now, because she knows how pain can unmoor a body. She has seen enough
in the turning of tides to promise that what arrives will ebb again.
She reminds me that at the heart of all I’m set to lose, memories remain.
Liz Quirke lives with her wife and daughters in Spiddal, Co Galway. Her debut collection The Road, Slowly will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2018 with Martina Evans referring to the collection as “lyrical and universal” and Leanne O’Sullivan saying the poems contain “a moving study of the ways in which we mother and in which we love.” Quirke was nominated for a Hennessy Award in 2016 and won the 2017 Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Short Poem Prize. www.lizquirke.com