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
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.