Sheila-Na-Gig online


Marc Swan



today can take your breath away

by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions
ISBN-10: 0692055134
ISBN-13: 978-0692055137

$15.00 Amazon (Amazon)

£10.75 Amazon UK (Amazon UK)

Marc Swan has poems forthcoming in Windsor Review, Gargoyle, Nerve Cowboy, Queen’s Quarterly, among others. He lives with his wife Dd in Portland Maine.


If this were the hold of a sailing
ship on a rocky sea of wind
and change, I’d understand pitch-
black darkness of the room,
tom-tom beat of my heart. A monitor
lights my way as I type these simple
words. She’s asleep upstairs.
After the accident a month ago,
she rests most of the day, gets up,
feels good, pushes herself to do more,
falls back into bed, exhausted
by once minimal effort. She’s here
when I go to work, when I come home
for lunch, when I return from work
she is on the patio, on the couch,
or in bed resting. The neurologist
said the injury was like a sprained
ankle in her head. I try to imagine
muscle tissue supporting my brain
wrenched to one side—whipped
this way and that. I want to take her
away from this new routine, a pattern
knitted out of boredom, fed on disuse,
fly on a big jet to a small place
with a cottage for two, river nearby,
salmon leaping out of running water.
We could walk in the woods, find
a grassy knoll for a picnic, touch
like we haven’t touched in a long time.

Two curious spiders

skitter over the pane
of the large front window welcoming all comers
to the Trailside Music Cafe and Inn
halfway between Panmure Island and Cavendish
as the young cherubic-faced singer leans into the mic—
her voice sweet with words difficult to discern.
The sound mixer missed and she doesn’t say “Whoa.”
A short set before the headliner—
Teresa Doyle and her son Patrick begin a repertoire
of hits, hers, and a range of new and old,
a few chronicle travels to places
far away that on this night feel close to home.
She is a wordsmith with a heart and, yes, soul,
not Motown-style think Billie Holiday,
more recent Stevie Nicks. The audience is attentive,
singing along when asked, but the beauty is in the way
she moves from one melody to the next: Irish keening,
Scottish chants, American blues and country—
“Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will
He sounds too blue to fly…”
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