J J dreams of blood and his wife’s eyes
floating in the cream layer of milk churns,
of vague entrails like electric coils
serpentining invidious desires. He dreams
of a lush anger wreaking damage, of his own
fast anger foisted on her slack womanhood.
He doesn’t understand his wife’s disdain
and sexless blood.
He wants to heat it to boiling,
to a rupturing ecstacy. He dreams of managing
her doll limbs and making love, of praying for forgiveness inside
her, for understanding.
She will not touch the soiled and fraying edges
of his lust.
She will not touch him.
He dreams of his hands cradling her face and of her skin
blackening underneath his fingertips.
He feels an electric frustration singe his brain
and rises in the drear dawn, dreamless.
Amongst the rocks and grykes near Muckinish
he clambers to a small enclosure,
a swathe of thorn briar in his hand.
He screams at the morose and lumbering herd -
one huge and voluble ventilation of his inner voice.
The cattle stream towards an opening
and descend the hill, except for one poor beast
deranged by fear. He beats her ’til the briar
breaks softly on her back. She does not move.
Clouds ferment the sky and tumult in darkness.
Yet she does not move. She will not move.
His eyes whiten and between his fingers elongate
the cool and stainless curves of a silage knife.
In a trance of passion he cleaves soft flesh
from bone, remote to the slaughter of his hands,
his feet marooned in blood,
his fingers cradling
the velvet softness of her milk.
Taken from ‘Footprints on the Limestone’
(1993), pages 39-40.