From Fothermather

An Apple Seed

apple       cup        &      shell
I say these things to you         I read them
from the            book    book     book       this is     a

book     you roll yourself to where
the sound must be                  to sound to word to thing
to me the mouth that sounds out sssssssshhhhhhhh

ell       you watch my lips to see the shell
come out        come out shell the shell
comes out & curls itself around the air

again the thing       itself is waves
of sound           for sound it is a swimming
moving to & fro      vibrating shell

the peel & rind      creaturely home      upon a time
spacetime is soft-bodied
Einstein said   the mollusk    we are in    a constant

flux    the quantum world stretching twisting curving
your small body to my own your hands
against my lips your fingers on my tongue

what is that sound what currency
is this what vessel for existing

when you were still in shell      we counted you
in days       two cells on day one      four the second day
six the third          when you were placed

inside      another room         to make
your way an apple seed   a blueberry     an ear
of corn   a coconut   the day of shelling

came & went   till two weeks    on you flexed
we were two Sauls     something like scales
something like shells     were falling

from our eyes              as out you came
you come out with a cry just like the aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh
of apple


Gail McConnell is one of the co-winners of the 2017 Ink Sweat & Tears/Café Writers Pamphlet Commission Competition and the pamphlet Fothermather is the result of that competition. She is a poet, literary critic and Senior Lecturer in English at Queen’s University Belfast and the author of Northern Irish Poetry and Theology (Palgrave, 2014) and articles on Irish and British poetry. Gail’s first poetry pamphlet is Fourteen (Green Bottle Press, 2018) and she is working on a book featuring ‘Type Face’, a long poem published in Blackbox Manifold concerning her experience of reading a Historical Enquiries Team Report about her father’s killing. Gail’s poems have appeared in Poetry Review, PN Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and Stand, and she is the recipient of two Arts Council Northern Ireland awards. A programme based on Fothermather will be produced by Conor Garrett and broadcast on Radio 4 in 2020.

Gail is featured in the panel discussion ‘Confinement: Exploring Feminist Perspectives’ at Poetry in Aldeburgh this evening and will be launching  Fothermather at Cafe Writers in Norwich on Monday 11th November.

You can buy Fothermather here.