Liz Houchin lives in Dublin and holds an MA in Creative Writing from its University College. Her first chapbook, Anatomy of a Honey girl, was published in 2021, and she was recently awarded a bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland to support the completion of her debut collection. Liz's work has appeared in Banshee, Journal.ie, RTE, Visual Verse and several anthologies. Her poems have also been shortlisted in the Fish Poetry Prize, Bridport Prize for Poetry, and the Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.
Beauty and the Beech
I knew what they were saying
behind handfuls of confetti
under hatfuls of flowers
‘there she goes marrying a tree’
silly girl and her silent knight
taciturn and towering over
callow pea-green saplings
‘in a sludge brown suit in June!’
who dared speak as one vow
cartwheeled down the aisle
one murmured on the breeze
‘I’d say he’s some barrel of laughs’
the band played and I twirled
gazing at my spotting point
as they raised a mocking glass
‘let’s toast beauty and the beech!’
but the day gave way to crickets and stars
my dress lay puddled on the forest floor
and my ear pressed to his rippled trunk
heard sparklers and peonies and pearls.
When we cast on, years ago, knitting our love sweater
we followed our own pattern, starting with a slipknot
new needles click-clacking as we found our rhythm
uneven at first, our threads pulled a little tight in places
—but too fine a gauge to worry about strangulation—
we counted stitches in twos, like heartbeats, watching
lines of plain settle smooth into our unthinking centre
a u t o m a t e d l o v e l i v e s
m a c h i n e d m o n o t o n y
p e r f e c t p a r a l l e l p a i r
But there it was: a peephole, there, in line seventeen.
Who was counting after all this time? Me, I never stopped.
I wonder if you had already noticed the dropped stitch,
untethered, a loose loop ready to unravel us all the way
and perhaps you let it drop to allow some other’s light
illuminate your exit while I fumbled with a crochet hook
to ladder us back up again, to make us look like new.
Beauty and the Beech / cast off: Anatomy of a Honey girl
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