Maeve O’Brien

Two figures on Strandhill beach


The sky grew pixelated in that autumnal way,

where assortments of greys visible as mosaic dots

become grains of salt in sea, become grains of sand on land.

Two black knives cut into the horizon


And any remaining blues are extinguished

by isolation. We walk along the shorefront, not touching

as the clouds plummet. The landscape ahead of us capsizes

while skeletons of ancient chieftains


attempt to seize our ankles.

Weepings and keenings throng the terrain,

etching a carnivorous desire to tear flesh

from bones and mount the funeral cairn at Knocknarea.


The wild gorse flowers are muted in their yellowness.

Their petals have been plumbed and sluiced onto the pre-

historic death pyre. Underneath the sea, duplicate

fingers grow out from weeds, dredging the mountain


As our doppelgangers move toward each other,

with the precision of a blade, in a cadaverous embrace.



Maeve O’Brien is currently finishing a PhD on the poetry of Sylvia Plath. Her poems have appeared in Wordlegs and in 2012, her short story ‘April Snow’ was printed in the anthology 30 Under 30, published by Doire Press. Maeve lives in Co. Tyrone and tweets at @theplathdiaries.