When is the zombie apocalypse? I might not make it.
March 13th, 2020; The ghosts of Sligo’s cholera outbreak walk us to the Lidl store, lurch
when they see the masked and ready murmur tightly across the specials. I buy bamboo coffee
cups, breathe out, two metres.
Whatsapp, March 20th, 2020; Video calls instil panic. You pour Malbec and tell me they’ve
let you go. We dispel myths with each mouthful dwell on our wishes no-one we know will
get it. Greenhouse, April 12th, 2020; I plant lettuce, onion and cabbage, place seed potatoes
to chit fleetingly consider the aftermath, a few years respite before famine. I plant an entire
tray in tomato seed—Moneymaker
Walking, April 30th 2020; Charlotte Blake Thornley recounted grisly tales to Bram, one
about a man delirious with the virus found along the roadside buried swiftly, his heart still
beating. I splash into potholes trip along the rough edges of this road a tickle in my throat.
Forest, May 18th, 2020; I need to walk in the woods. There is a calm, a cuckoo and a squirrel
flying by—a buzzard cries. When it rains, the soft drops are stopped by the tall pines and the
smell is ancient. Whatsapp, May 18th 2020; There’s a roadmap to follow. I bring you to the
kitchen. We watch the long shadows of sunset pool at the back window. Your news is good.
Work is starting soon. The virus is fading. We toast our optimism in deep red sips.
The cholera lasted twenty years some kept it away with clubs and sticks and incantations,
Charlotte fled. Reading Dracula, July 29th, 2020; Since March 13th every train that passes is
as empty as our summer. Today, I see people pressed against the windows. Train was an
Forest, 3rd of July, 2021; I sidestep the coffee cups that litter my walk. The buzzards will
fledge soon, the squirrels have gone into hiding and the cuckoo, home again. Outside this
wooded temple Carrowkeel’s tombs hold the light of summer in lime stoned palms, opening
then closing, opening, then closing.
Sinéad McClure is a writer, radio producer and illustrator. Sinead’s writing has appeared in literary journals, anthologies and on radio including; Poethead, Crossways Literary Magazine, Live Encounters, Drawn to the Light Press, The Cormorant Broadsheet, Dodging the Rain, A New Ulster, StepAway Magazine, Tiny Spoon, Sonder Magazine, the Ekphrastic Review and RTEjr Radio. In March 2021 Sinéad won the O Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Prize.