Spring 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 1


Poetry     Interview     Translations     Fiction     Book Reviews

Liz Gallagher



Bed-room, with or without a hyphen or spelt backwards,
is a sketch from a ten year old with curtains drawn. Outside,

a primrose sun casts rays over a stiff chimney pot. Mother
and Father are matchstick people with arms outstretched. Fingers

separate widely to show the blue of continuous sky. A door can
be barricaded. A hiding place under the bed rates

among the most cobwebbed spots in the world. Forget
the onus on us to rise and shine – a bed-room is a place

of white, netted curtains hanging on a drooping wire. A trailer
of turf blocks the view and white netting becomes a wedding veil tied

in a knot at the nape of a neck. A Sacred Heart light with a bulb fused
is the only audience. Imagine the stillness of a bedspread mummifying

a body. The height of the ceiling gags a mouth. The Top 20 crackles
from a fallen radio. Abba’s Dancing Queen skirts a thousand issues.

An ear pressed against a mattress feels the weightlessness of goose-down.
Spittle escaping from the side of a mouth, if left long enough, can drown

a fly. In a bedroom, tears can well up and cover the story
of Noah’s Ark where everything has a match. Moving in twos

or the arithmetic of two never completely unhinges light-footed
ghosts that ceaselessly self-reflect in bedroom door handles.


The People One Meets While Wearing a Hat

Graham and my husband met while my husband was wearing
a red-star, Vietnamese, canvas hat. My husband was between two
pier walls, fishing, and sheltering from the wind that had lifted
the plastic chair from underneath the old lady who had bent
forward to shake sand from her shoe. I met Graham while wearing
a woolly hat and looking for light under a street lamp. Graham

had every gadget one could imagine –hook sharpeners, braces
for waders and a life jacket that came to midriff. Graham was staying
with his ex-wife who attempted suicide on both Christmas Eve
and New Year’s Eve. Graham fished as if his life depended on it.
He spoke about a type of fish that had teeth in its fins; once he stood
talking to his ex-wife with fingers bleeding while holding the fish

the wrong way round. Octopuses changed colours in his fridge,
on the grass verge and on the back seat of his car. Graham confessed
he once had a girlfriend who was a nymphomaniac. He searched
in his breast pocket for a photo of a female employee who was beautiful,
worked hard but rolled joints at 8 am. Graham always bought warm
bread in the mornings. I saw him buy warm bread on the morning

that Saddam Hussein’s execution photo appeared in the newspaper.
Graham said he would drink anything, even methylated spirits but
instead he drank a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine and left
our house with a bucket of stale bread at 4 am. Graham did not outstay
his welcome, nor did he ever wear a hat, not in all the time we knew him.


© Liz Gallagher



Poetry     Interview     Translations     Fiction     Book Reviews

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