Two Poems



I want to sound you on this piano, but brush you into still life,
instead. Face you out the window. Rain shakes
loose like a good cry. Some light passes through.

Others call it wide-eyed, but who could not recall your colors?
You blend into the heather, bleed into the hawthorn.
Fluent as the night rain, lapping at my borders.

Composition: not a sail, but the wind. No guillemot,
but its wings. Years, you’ve been at my bed side,
yet I still can’t see where you end.

Nights, you ghost the Connacht coast, tending to what needs.
In a thicket of gorse, I find you, inhaling the sweetness
of earth. You look up to see your face walking towards you.
Hear Lissa Kiernan Read “STILL LIFE WITH IRISH DIRT”



Am I self-medicating to death? It’s hard to tell. Everyday a minor death: appetite, libido,
memory. Ah, well. I just want to sleep the sleep of the apples, like our darling Lorca.

Remember Finn? Nina Hagen, Sturm und Drang, how anything German was cool?
Said he slept like an Übermensch every night because his conscience was clear.

Implying, somehow, ours were smeared.

The sky today? A ruined silver. The leaves look beat, more than ready for a drink.
Tonight, I’ll have four whiskey sours with my late father’s partner. He’ll arrive
in Brooks Brothers blue, determined to whoop it up.

I often think of your charcoal drawings. The ones after Munch? The night I cried
and cried because my new boyfriend, like my dad, was gay. You held and rocked me,
held and murmured my name for hours. You saved my life. 

I’ll be married to Chris twenty years in October. Gads. October! How much did we love

U2? Going to see them before anyone else knew? Bono still a Boy, bopping all over
the stage: reeeee-joy-ice….

Sometimes I take out that card you made me:  Hey Liss! Won’t you be my mod Valentine?
Yes. I should have said yes.

As for me? The first signs of marionette lines. I’m finally sleeping but I look more tired
each day. I blame the pills. I’ll take the trade.

Well, here’s another letter I don’t know where to send. I hope some of it gets through.

Hope that you’re still drawing. Maybe working in color now, too.

I remain, your bitter half,

Lissa Kiernan

Lissa Kiernan’s poems, essays, and reviews can be found in numerous journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Founder and director of The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative, a provider of online workshops, Lissa currently makes her home in Brooklyn, New York. Visit for more.

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