The Manchester Review
Medbh McGuckian
Three poems
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At the Hand and Pen

The large river the city does not have
But would be stopped by nothing, flowed
Towards the jail at the edge so everyone could
Tell themselves, I went.

How many times had they closed the university,
Shut down the lecture series? The horizons
Had all been pleated like doubt-peacocks
Shooed away. Like Fay,

Cut in two by bombs, holding her little girl
Low-breaking by the hand, or the ones shot
At crossroads. She sprinkled holy water
Where the pavement was uneven.

He took his ballot out of his pocket,
Raised it to his forehead, then traced
The sign of the cross with it over his chest
And placed it in the box.