STIGMATA

Cé scaoil ar dtúis
isteach im’ thigh
an bás dorcha, an sciathán leathair?
Cé dúirt os íseal
faoina smig,
‘mo thiarna is mo mháistir’?

Cén lúb ar lár,
cén cnag sa chlár,
cén ribe scoilte
gur ghaibh sé tríd?
Cén siúinéir diabhal
a d’fhág an dual
ar leathadh i bpainéal istigh?

Tá mus cumhra óna bhéal.
Tá flós fómhair ina bholadh.
Tá milseach shiúcra in anáil
á leathadh
ar fuaid an tseomra.

Mar dhá ghrian dhearga
ag dul faoi
ag íor na spéire
faoi scailp cheo
a shúile dearga im’ thaibhrí
ag cur srutháin oigheartha
trí mo bheo.

A theanga ag monabhar go bog
ag sioscadh ar an dteileafón.
Laistiar dem’ ghualainn braithim rud
am thimpeallú is éiríonn romham
mar philéar tine ins an oíche,
mar cholún deataigh ins an ló.

Is anois don gcéad uair tuigim
fáth mo lagachair ar maidin.
Cuardaím leath in nganfhios dom fhéin,
rian na bhfiacal ar mo mhuineál
is tagaim ar ghiotaí páipéir
scriobláilte cois na leapan.

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (publ. 2000)

 

Who first let loose
into my house
the dark death, the leather-wing?
Who said in a low voice
into her chin
‘my lord and my master’?

What loop on the floor,
what knock on the board,
what split hair
had taken it through?
What devil’s carpenter
that left the knot
to open within the panel?

Out of its mouth a perfume of musk.
An autumn flower in the scent.
Sugar sweetness in its breath
that spread
around the room.

Like two red suns
going down
at the horizon
under a bank of fog
its red eyes in my vision
sending streams of gall
through my being.

Its tongue murmuring softly
a hissing on the telephone.
Behind my shoulder I sense a thing
encircling and it rises before me
like a pillar of fire in the night,
like a column of smoke in the day.

And now for the first time I understand
the reason for my morning sickness.
I search, half in secret from myself,
for tooth marks on my neck
and come upon scribbled bits
of paper at the foot of the bed.

Eric Rosenbloom (2016)