I Will Not Speak of the Torment
When I came here my children were young,
one not yet born, trees were sapling, tender
shoots of ash, patterns of the oak tree already
formed in the acorn. I sowed flowers, rose,
camilla, geranium, planting, replanting
seasonal colours, found my place
and peace came for a while.
Soul became vague in our busy lives,
but I swear, she lives, haunts my breath,
as the ancients knew anima, psyche,
I’m moonfaced as stars reflect how the sprigs
have grown, trees taking in light, letting go,
everything dies to be reborn.
We came to know each other through our storms,
she keeps a diary, a circle for each year, time held,
secrets locked in her trunk, protected in sap
she knows me intimately, the voice in my dreams,
and she lives in me, there in the dirt and silt
Here he is again, King Toad leaping unannounced
into the mirror, his gravelly croak ready to work
hammer and chisel on me, bulging eyes stare assured
of his god image.
‘You can’t get anything right. Your makeup like a clown!’
I’m helpless against this bullying.
‘Stop biting your nails. The sink is a mess.
And the state of your hair!’
His sticky tongue darts in and out
and with this shout, grey spittle appears
on his lower lip. Sometimes he’s silent.
I’m damned to know which is worse.
In the mirror’s edges, infinite croaking toads gather,
the dry warty skin of critics, hecklers, decriers.
The no-neck equals his boisterous call:
‘I demand perfection in a woman.’
The army of frogs, in slimy rapid chorus agree:
‘look at your weight, those jockey’s legs,
call yourself beautiful? who do you think you are?’
His natterjack mouth gnashes on each word.
I know it is I, he sees in the mirror
and he pulsates with hunger to be me.
Downstairs, I serve the food, he gulps.
We have some silence for a while.
‘O,’ he crunches, ‘Have you seen the silt
in the pond? Has to be cleaned!’
‘I’m trying,’ I cry but not loud enough
above his punishing, to make any impact.
‘What have I done wrong?’ Conditioned
to beg off this amphibian oppressor,
he rants on:
‘As if you don’t know!’
He excretes from glands
the killer toxins. I move
behind his head,
hearing the long list of demands.
It went on for years. I, trying to befriend him.
I’d invited him in, surely he’d something to teach.
We came to a truce, but I could never trust him.
Tragically, he still lurks in my shadow.
© Attracta Fahy
Attracta Fahy lives in Co.Galway, a Psychotherapist, with three children, completed her MA in Writing NUIG ‘17. She was October winner in Irish Times; New Irish Writing 2019, Pushcart, and Best of Web nominee, shortlisted for Over The Edge 2018 New Writer, Allingham Poetry both 2019 &’20, a featured reader at Over The Edge Reading in Galway City Library. Fly on the Wall Poetry published her debut chapbook collection Dinner in the Fields, in March’20.