Originally from Kent but now living in Cork, Ireland, Lucy Holme is a poet and mother whose poems have featured in The Liminal Review, Púca Literary Journal and Re-Side. She also has work forthcoming in Southword, Marble Poetry, Poetry Bus, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and new online poetry journal After... . In April 2021, she was a recipient of a Munster Literature Centre Mentoring Fellowship with the poet Grace Wells, and is now studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Lucy's debut chapbook, Temporary Stasis – shortlisted for The Patrick Kavanagh Award – will be published by Broken Sleep Books in 2022.
The Haunted Kind
I can tell you all I know about awakening
under scratchy winter blankets
in the half-light of Sóller’s horseshoe bay.
A view of the promenade, a 1950s
Off season. Tramuntana, olive-scented.
Better with fewer bodies to watch our story unfold.
Nights were cold in April although the days
still had their welcome pockets of sun.
We couldn’t gauge the depth of one another’s heart,
so we handled them gently, like rare species.
Bared faults before they were revealed,
pushed shadows out.
One night when I awoke,
I felt a presence in the room that wasn’t you.
Saw a pale hand turn the knob and then retreat.
You said you sensed it too.
Ghosts were all around us in the verdure,
on the skipping sand.
You told me of your cleverest friend,
about your country’s complicated past.
I kept my own history vague
for fear of breaking the spell.
The claims we make, early in the day,
I just can’t lie and these are my worst traits.
Laid bare, they shift like sediment on the shore.
You take the sadness, add the words,
mash them into something you can use,
a cleansing poultice for old wounds.
Best remember who you said you were,
before the ghosts gather
to call you out.
Brown burnished gold, silken
flank shivers with sweat.
She comes near to sneeze, to stomp
then leaves in a kinetic blur,
a muscled sketch from Duchamp,
I lay my palms flat as her muzzle
sniffs and strong jaw chomp-chomps.
She studies me. Lashes dark and wet,
angles fine as cut glass.
She resists form. After all, she is so young.
They shout whoa pícara! Click their tongues
when she rears and fumes.
The bridle constricts blood flow,
breath heaves as it tightens.
Expansion curtailed, power diminished.
I reach for her, but she eyes me with disdain.
Turns to rise on hind quarters,
lope like six beasts conjoined,
across the prado.
Every fly that lands creates a twitch
that sends her in circles,
proud breast raised skywards.
She refuses to be scavenged,
to be bled dry.
Now I know her name, Carletta,
I visit each sweltering day and build
a life for her. Count the summers
she has been on display.
We greet each other as — not quite
old friends — but something close.
We are of a similar temperament:
enraged by things we cannot convey.
We speak a different language,
but I can sight-read the low simmer,
her impatience with her teachers.
Against the rope fence, I hold
her reins, white-knuckled,
a luchadora they will try,
and fail to tame.
for my Beloved
New Year's Eve, 2019
You are above him now,
an eager light, just off starboard bow.
Unbodied alpha aquilae, aflame.
As I, far from inky ocean sprawl,
search the city sky,
mapping longing and loss.
Shroud me in your polished glow,
Altair, so I might have courage
beyond tonight, onward to dawn.
This year, grief cut me off
when I had tried so hard to soar.
It snatched what I couldn’t bear to lose,
gifted unexpected treasures
for which I had no room.
Reason had me choose
what I loved the best, resolve
bade me solemnly to forget the rest.
But if our eyes lock through you
at midnight, we’re halfway
So tell me, eagle eye,
nestled in the aether
can you make us strong again?
Can you help us plot our own
small constellation, far from
the flare of repercussions?
To reconcile, so we might burn
at full intensity once more?
Just as you do.
Altair, light the course home
for my beloved, as he navigates
the dark Atlantic path.
Know that I am also at sea,
pacing these cold corridors. Waiting
for sorrow to loosen its grip on me.
The Haunted Kind: The Honest Ulsterman (February 2021)
La Yegua / Altair Shines for my Beloved: exclusive first
publication by iamb