Mitochondrial Eve

A plague of poppies: salmon, tomato,
apricot. Some years I save the seeds,
audible in upright cups, and carry them,
carefully, to make two lemon cakes,
eat all those flowers.

Flowers that are as famous as
the famous dead. As famous as seven
mothers, each buried at the bottom of
her skeleton tree. Perhaps a little
Lucy momma buried at the root of mine.

And famous are the blackbirds in the garden.
Each at the top of its pine,
sings its posterity song –
‘I’m listening, I’m listening’ –
to simple strands, tightly bound.


Continue reading “The Problem of Joy”


They don’t like us much


They don’t like us much. No, really, they don’t.

They don’t like our long hair tied back. They really don’t like

our hair short. ‘Excuse me, sir. Oh, sorry.’

They don’t like our eyes looking at them

unless obscured by shadows, false lashes.

Then, when so decorated, they want them turned only at them.

And they don’t like our clothes.

Tight ones mean we’re asking for it.

Baggy ones mean we don’t have self-respect.

They don’t like our occupations. No, I’m wrong.

They don’t see our occupations.

They don’t like us much

and I don’t like many of them.



Bad Alice


Don’t change, Alice.

Alice when she grows or shrinks.

Or turns a great eye out the attic window.

Don’t look at us, Alice.


Alice asks questions, tries to show her brain.

God, Alice,

show us anything else you like but that.

Bad. Bad poem. Bad, bad Alice.



Trinity College Dublin Library: The Long Room


The smell of old books.

White marble busts of dead white males.

No women here. No women at all.

But ladders … and girls …


Oh, yes, girls now.

Glimpsed, working upstairs.

They murmur,

out of sight.



Ordinary killer                


Dedicated to the memory of Jessica Lloyd, Corporal Marie-France Comeau

and who knows how many other women in how many other countries


He kills me

He kills me not

He kills me

He kills me not

He –


Daisy, daisy, tell me true,

Does my lover love me? A little? Or no?


He kills me

He kills me not

He kills me

He kills me not

He kills –


Strangers in their far-off lands

Demonstrators, if they get out of hand

The girls who try to join his band


He kills me

He kills me not

He kills me

He kills me not


Oh misery

He killed me