Be that as it may, I’m wakened by the moans
not of the wind
nor the wood-demons

but Oscar Mac Oscar, as we call the hound
who’s wangled himself
into our bed; ‘Why?’ ‘Why not?’

He lies between us like an ancient quoof
with a snout of perished gutta-
percha, and whines at something on the roof.
I’m suddenly mesmerised
by what I saw only today: a pair of high-heels
abandoned on the road to Amherst.
And I’ve taken off, over the towns of Keady
and Aughnacloy and Caledon –
Et In Arcadia –

to a grave lit by acetylene
in which, though she preceded him
by a good ten years, my mother’s skeleton

has managed to worm
its way back on top of the old man’s,
and she once again has him under her thumb.

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