My shadow doll went out into the world
while I stayed home. I dreamed her into
being. She flickers like a guttering candle,
and slips through midnight’s eye, I do not follow.
She lives in a world inhospitable to me,
moves about under wraps, a black shadow
viewing everything through the blur of a grille.
At home I look through rain-streaked windows,
everything is netted in mist, cuckoo spit
clings to the lavender, frog-spawn litters the pond,
the world outside is a jellied mess
of tangled words left to fester in the heat.
My shadow doll is like a lost sister, she speaks
with authority to the bees and owls,
even the trees hush their whispering
and listen. I stay silent hoping the dread that hangs
will lift like a startled flock of sparrows.
My shadow sister soaks up all my bads, my strife,
my murderous impulses. I watch as she endures
the blunt knife. My sister.
Jean O’Brien is working on her 6th collection, which will be published by Salmon Poetry, an award winning poet she was most recently awarded the Patrick Kavanagh fellowship, she also won the Arvon International (UK). She holds an M. Phil in cw/poetry from Trinity College, Dublin and tutors in poetry.