SPOTLIGHT: Annual by Sinéad Mooney

previously published in Charmolypi Literary Review, Issue 1
JANUARY—where the calendar flips and the new year rumbles ominously like a rollicking lick of distant thunder,
And when resolutions melt into ill-fated resolves.
All echoed howling winds and bitter air, soles of muck-singed shoes
Creaking as they skate across refined powder frost that sighs when you crunch down into it.
Another hard weather start to another hard era.
Ice block fingers strum their instruments of survival,
Living for the first signs of the grand stretch
When it sticks its neck out, and paints the horizon
With drippy orange dusks that descend upon the coated grasses
And indicate softer days ahead from this.

This year I think I will reinvent myself
As a wild woman. Perhaps if I rub my lipstick raw enough,
It’ll finally afford me a bit of admirable edge.
Most likely I will lock myself away at my desk, fritter my funds away
On metal pins and handmade garments and use the thought of my newest long-distance desire
To push myself off to sleep on my most red-eyed nights.
But hope springs eternal. It always does, even on winters
As incisive as this. So thus I stand, chapped lips and knees fit to buckle,
Whispering do your worst, through chattering teeth and thick disbelief:
Do your worst, do your worst, do your worst.

FEBRUARY—the shortest month,
Thank fuck. I’ve spent it all on Brigid’s beck and call,
Waiting for her to cast her cloak over Kildare,
Cover last season’s roadkill and crack the sky open ’til we finally see a slip of stray cerulean—
Oh, but isn’t she such a tease, though?

It’s all storms and saints ’round these parts;
Storms and saints and stamps, sending letters to lands
Where I must not dare wander,
Where I cannot allow my shrivelled mind to wonder about.

I have finally begun to forget the sonic palette of the smoking area,
But your smile’s still ringing in my ears.

I used to put the world to rights with the mental conjuring of would-be mates,
But they’ve slipped away with the rain.
Now all I have is pop country and the tinny din of voices through electric waves,
But it’ll do, because it has to, and so we’ll go on
Lusting for the dry-throat scorch of suns to come.

MARCH, like an Antarctic expedition, a long slow sludgy trudge through the snow even though it falls no more. MARCH, in the sense of midspring, I’m so glad that the weeds are at last aglow even though my eyes are too heavy to receive them. MARCH but really a crawl, but sometimes a stride, occasionally a leap, I wish I could revise it here into a strut. MARCH like it’s not that my legs have suddenly deemed to become steady, I’ve just gotten great at sticking them as far out in front of me as they’ll possibly go. MARCH, I found myself hoping that when they make the movie adaptation of my life that they rewrite me as a righteous heartthrob. MARCH, the anniversary came around announcing itself, I thought of blowing candles out but that’d probably just spread the malady and it’s long been a great billowing blanket. MARCH as in can you believe it was March, and now it’s going to be April?! MARCH, as in an email, an email, my kingdom for an email! MARCH as in boredom you feel down to your bones. MARCH as in uninterrupted continuity of unwanted movement, time ticking merciless like a traffic warden’s arm. MARCH as in continuing, though dragging, though kicking, though screaming. MARCH as in march, march, march.


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