We turn the corner to our street
and my daughter cries out home!

Although what she actually sees
are the blue mountains framed

in oak trees like a panorama.
The mountains will be here

long after our neighborhood
is forest once more, but for now

they are friendly and contained.
We’ve just come from watching

you sleep, the evening light gentle
on your face like a studio film.

We all stood around you discussing
your beauty for the last time.

In the allegory of Plato’s Cave,
what happened to the people

who held the puppets behind the fire?
I think they may still be standing there

among slack ropes and ashes.


I’m eating chocolates I carried across the water
From the shop in the alley to my American bungalow
In a little golden box

One is full of bourbon cream, my paramour
It tastes of my grandmother’s living room, of ice cubes rattling
Should I be afraid of it

Months, years, without you, and all the rest of it stretched out into the night
A plane flying through time zones, in search of the next daybreak
And then back again

The boy on the train kept repeating the news:
It’s not raining in Dublin today
It’s not raining in Dublin today

Do you hear me
Through the window, house after lovely house, white stone, facing the coast with no fear
I could live there, and there, a life wiped clean and restarted

My thoughts arranged beneath a glass table in my brain, pressed flowers
In the city I came upon a screaming man at a street crossing
He followed me from one side to the other; I was already at loose ends

It seemed that even birds flew the wrong way
From behind me, he shouted what I already knew:
You should cut out your heart

The Ghost

Drinking made me closer
to my ancestors, I told myself
alone on the couch

while my family slept down the hall

Like looking into the houses
of strangers at night—the people
are familiar, a little bit
golden, gilded, framed in time

They would welcome me if they could

But language is sticky, syntax gutted—
Do you ever miss me
I ask the man
who was my grandfather

I know you liked the bottle, too

Did you like how it tasted of flowers
And something sharp and sad—
resin in which to encase the flowers

Do you see how it stopped time

Chasing skirt is one way of phrasing it
I owe my life to your dalliance

My grandmother embroidered flowers
A whole tapestry of them, sitting
In the late afternoon cocktail light

She never said a word about you

MOLLY MINTURN’s poetry chapbook, Not in Heaven, was published in February 2018 by Southword Editions in Ireland. Her poems and essays have appeared in Boston Review, the Iowa Review, Sycamore Review, Bennington Review, the Toast, Longreads, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere.