Anna-Marie Maher, A Promise of Purple

Steinway

Santa got it from the Christian Brothers for a song.
He must have done his very best singing.
It lived in the alcove under the stairs,
wedged between school-bags and shoes.

The keys were stained
like smokers’ fingers.
The keys cold to touch
like dead smokers’ fingers.

It smelled of must and dust
and hope and happiness.
A sang with a twang.
E was stuck in its way.

I practised ‘The Maple Leaf Rag’
every day after school and all day Sunday.
Always a flawless performance
except for the last bit.

Lussan

North wind bites.
Slap-shocks.
Blue sky told a lie.

A haunting of thistle heads —
ruptured balloons — stand
sentinel to scrubbed earth.

Spring shoots probe
frozen, scorched soil.
A tease of thaw fringes gully.

I skirt lavender fields,
inhale an echo of scent,
sense a promise of purple.

Bonfire smoke smudges horizon,
filters a fossilised fort. It’s keep
preserved for postcard souvenirs.

A lone kestrel perches high on post,
a pastoral attendant,
still it sits.

Anna-Marie Maher is a poet and musician living in Waterford. She was awarded 2nd place in this year’s Waterford Poetry Prize and was long-listed for the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award, as part of the 2018 Wexford Literary Festival. She has also been published on Headstuff.org. Her work explores themes of people and place, often rooted in her own childhood experience. She is working towards her first collection.

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