He lay between his parents
contemplating the wardrobe top

 - he was four, they were twenty four
and it was November his birthday time

and they asked him what he wanted.
There was nothing on the wardrobe top

except for a black suitcase and he said
a train, a red train, a beautiful red train

and they were thrilled to be able to get  him
what he wanted; it was overwhelming and

Christmas was coming and the wardrobe top
was empty again except for the black suitcase

and again  they asked him what he wanted and
he replied  a train, a red train, a beautiful red train.


The windows
of this room
holding  my flesh and blood

blank the outside

We are concentrating
 indoors today

while this city
busies itself
in shoes
and changing gears

In here there's more than in here

Little - do we know?

We wait for the last stretch

A trickle of cochineal

Rubies flash promises of fire


the sweetness
of a birthday cake

Capped with the family blood

his head
and the merest slip
of a body

are sacrificed
to the scales

A smell of warm iron
tastes the air, this room

A new voice

Little you!

in the middle of your kin's swing and dive
Mouths and eyes

A merry-go-round


She feels bound to hide the present
although the white and gold starred holster
reminds her of her own deliverance: 3 months gone,
flush in a bridal gown. And no mistake.
Right from the start he's been a handful,
so she isn't surprised, when, gun deprived,
her son comes in and blurts Stick your hands up
with a twig trimmed with apple blossom,
kirr-kirr kirr-kirr
 but quick on the rebound
mum snaps it but then up come two fingers,
He blows and draws again, t-t-t-t-t
and her heart sinks with a trigger finger.

         Mary Maher 2007