“The Woman” and Other Poem, by Catherine O’Brien

The Woman 

The woman ineffectually held a mouthful of contradictions
her hostages, gone fugitive,
belly crawled on scraped elbows
their tanginess breached the borders and
protruded through parted lips of
vermilion; a beautiful yet dangerous colour,
to wave at the world. 

The woman drove a car, slovenly fast.
It made no noise or held no feeling.
There was a canopy of trees,
one parachutist,
commonly known as a helicopter seed
with a bulbous head full of trees,
spiralling through the air,
a ballerina’s pirouette all pointed toes and unmuffled grace
Her windscreen didn’t even flinch
punched the paper skull 
sent it careening down the bonnet
onto the road, oil spills displayed a spectrum of rainbow
mirrored the contrails she ignored overhead. 

The woman hosted conversations. 
She spoke of kindness and showed
the palms of her hands.
She rode a tandem bike, alone,
taunted by the swish of
oscillating pedals.
She failed,
to slow,
to notice,
to refrain,
to celebrate the flight of another. 
She rigged her life to show her favour
and spat out her fugitives,
she was omnivorously,

All too real
You know!
her hungry desire to estivate in the collective warmth, 
the stupor of temporal approval and adulation,
the blinking ‘likes’,
Her just deserts. 

She was sharenting
as the park pumped hibiscus scent into the air.
Fingers splayed in earnest endeavour
not to obstruct the shot.
Snapping her subject
failing to see the stick of gum flailing in her son’s hair.
Captured, then captioned, in high resolution
corralled into her perception of perfection.
She tutted when he craned to see
the causation of sudden melee
beyond her line of insight.
All turned to see a young boy with tears dripping from his chin
He raised a pleading hand and she snapped. 

Catherine O’Brien is an Irish writer of poems, flash fiction and short stories. She writes bi-lingually in both English and Irish. Her work has appeared in print and online in Iris Comhar, Idle Ink, The Raven Review, Virtual Zine and other fine publications. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Janus Literary, Flash Boulevard, Loft Books, Ellipsis Zine, The Birdseed and more. You can find her on Twitter @abairrud2021.

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