Phobia

by Jac Shortland

I never said it to her
that I was afraid of it,
afraid of him and his relics
and his stigmata mittens
and his eyes on us all,
from the side altars.

I never said it to her
how he goaded me through
the garden gnome Padrés,
placed by the bereaved,
ironically, to ward off devils
and guard the gravesides.

I never divulged to her
that the symbol of her early
death, impending in my mind,
was that relic, whatever it was,
in a mousy pouch under the pillow,
on the far side of her sick bed?

We joked and I tried not to show
that I had hoped the pouch
had held a harmless bit of weed,
and not a piece of his Pio heaven,
that I half prayed wasn’t waiting
for us all on the other side.

Jac Shortland is a Cork woman. She has been long listed for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2017 and for North West Words Poetry 2016 and commended for Westport Arts Festival Poetry 2017. Her poems reflect the mind of a woman, who hasn’t made her mind up about any of life’s mysteries and most likely never will.

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