Issue 007 – 2020 – Markus Wust

Aidan Rooney-Céspedes


Both how, when I pulled the front door 
this morning to let the sun in, 

some night class of spinner had strung 
from one jamb to the other 

a will-‘o-the-wisp funicular 
that, now a waft of light and air 

enters to liven our dusty house, 
passes lightning bands of silver 

along its barely visible floss 
as if to make sure all is clear, 

                                                 and why, is just beyond us, unless 

               some huge jump needed to be taken.



                                  Stay put 
if you can help it. 
Always be ready to say kaput, 
                           but wear a helmet. 

– Joseph Brodsky 

Scant caveat for the double hairpin turn 
our 2CV failed to quite negotiate, 

that sigmoid a hundred yards back, squiggled 
on an amber triangle behind a tree, 

would echo the roadkill we ended up beside, 
over-easy, driver‚s side, a few miles 

far side of Falcarragh, were it not so far 
along in its excited decomposition, 

less the bourdonnement of bluebottles 
than the cooperative wriggle of maggots 

making heat in the bloated carcass someone‚d 
flung into long grass, roiling like a motor 

at the heart of the badger, our own still ticking 
over, one wheel spinning in mid-air, till 

we tip it back on all fours and carry on, 
the top rolled back, to the Ostán in Gweedore 

for a swim and sweat, our pelts carving water 
above our trawled shadows, then glistening side 

by side on cedar bunks, aglow and pulsing 
in the kind of heat that would make your breathing 

something to think about if we hadn,t talked, 
then touched, putting all account behind us.


Forgiveness, begged from the shaky indigo of a gas fog, 
back then the way to go, genuinely sorry I‚d kicked her 
half way through extraction when, like a boa constrictor, 
she reared up on me, hissed, spat, then lit up a half-grass fag 

right there in the county clinic, mother outside, no bother 
to her, two molars left hanging in the cheek of me, a wee brat, 
pleading in tongues that she finish off her joint then me, caveat 
emptor, say nothing, it‚ll be our little secret. I‚d no other 

choice but pass out, fast forward here, a clean hygienist 
bent on my contentment, her children‚s impeccable dentition 
smiling at the wall opposite where gobs, in stages of attrition, 
bare their gingivitis. Thanks be, I shivered and, sighing, wished 

to doze forever in that rocket chair, admire her steel spittoon 
that swirled away my blood-flecked drool, the plastic cup 
with its own little tap, the suction wand going apoplectic, 
post-rinse, at fresh saliva, me wondering if she feels it too soon 

for us to get serious. She questions from behind a half a bra 
cupping her jaw, but even still I catch a lovely aroma of apple, 
a hint of mint the giveaway she just flossed, aloe, maple, 
and a miscellany of other mystery sugars. A-ah a a-ah, I baa, 

to which she extracts her tools, holding them over my face 
like she‚s taking a break from knitting, or wondering if I‚m what 
she ordered last time at Siam Palace, if I come with kumquat. 
Abracadabra, I whisper, now I can, beseeching every grace 

                                    to grant I never come to, toothless, in that other scary place.


Aidan Rooney-Céspedes is an Irish poet living in Hingham, Massachusetts. In 1996 he was winner of the W.B. Yeats Poetry Competition and in1997 he received the Sunday Tribune / Hennessy Cognac award for New Irish Poetry. He has been published widely in journals in Europe and North America, most recently or forthcoming in The Irish Times, TriQuarterly, DoubleTake, Poetry Review, Harvard Review and Metre. His first collection of poems – Day Release – appeared from The Gallery Press in 2000.