Mary McGill

‘Madame de Pissenlit’


At dawn in her garden, Dandelion stands staring at the buttery, fluttering flowers of her namesake. Curling a finger around the stem, she snaps dew-kissed necks like elastic, tossing severed heads into a wicker basket that hangs from the fragile ‘v’ of her arm.


Marmalade-red is Dandelion’s hair. All the way down to her waist it goes like a fox’s tail, except her tail begins on her head. Eyes are hooded, dim blue dots in a pinched face. Her house dress is ankle-length, stain-speckled, sleeveless. At the shoulders, bones protrude from flesh like the outline of old furniture cloaked in sheeting.


Sun is up as she begins to brew, wringing juice from buttery heads, filling a china cup with tea, its steam caressing her face. Fraying lips sip, making whispery slurp-sounds that swell in the hollow of the kitchen. Cup drained her eyes cloud, emptiness eating at her. Foetal beneath layers of sour wool blankets, Dandelion rests.


In the grass stubs of sliced stems jerk, licked sideways by the wind.




Mary McGill is based in Galway.  Her fiction has appeared in The South Circular, The Bohemyth, Crannóg and Wordlegs. In 2013,she was shortlisted for the Penguin / RTÉ Guide short story competition and the Irish Times ‘Legends of the Fall’ competition. Mary was also long listed for the 2013 Over the Edge award. She blogs at and tweets @missmarymcgill