by Úna Ní Cheallaigh


You scoured Hickey’s bargain basement

for a remnant of Japanese shot silk;

winged patterns of jade, lapis lazuli,

vermilion blossoms cool against skin.


I admired the cushions you made,

envied you your skill -

(a lift in mood, euphoric in hindsight).


The night before, we ate Turkish Delight,

drank tea from tulip glasses

I’d brought from Istanbul.


How come I didn’t notice -

catch the subtext in the pause?

The part you played and I was convinced.

(The detailed plan already made.)


I search for traces of a scene

I can’t bear to imagine,

trying to unpick what I missed.


I find cushions


neatly placed on your bed,

bias-binding ribbons loosely tied.

Kenzo floral lost in Dettol’s heavy smell.


Specks of blood like pinpricks on the rug -

all traces of pills, booze, Gillette blades

cleared away.


I sit out the crucial days waiting

for the hospital to ring.

Wander in rooms,

searching for remnants.


When I visit

you show me wrists

stitched with black silk thread.