My father committed his when he was twenty-eight, just three months after I was born. And a grisly one it was too. The victim was some shook-looking fossil of a pensioner shuffling out of eleven o’clock mass in Carrigallen, which is where we called home until after the trial. It’s a tiny backward kip of a place, lashed to the side of a cliff just north of Glinsk, on the tip of the Erris peninsula, that the wind slices through no matter what kind of a day it is on the other side of the sign:
Failte Chuig an… / Abandon all hope ye who enter…
There’d be no need to go out of your way to bypass it even, because no road—main, bog, botharin or otherwise—will take you within an ass’s roar of the boundary, unless you really have a mind to get there. The “Grieving Corner,” my mother used to call it, and she’d be deadly serious, knowing full well the reasons why. She was by no means the only one either. You would want to be at least three towns over before you’d chance taking the piss out of the town and its murderous rumors, whispers that hung like mustard gas over every square inch of the place. Even then there’d be few enough takers. As it stands, there isn’t a guidebook in print that’ll make reference to it, I’ll put money on that right now, even from where I am.
But there was a time when it wasn’t the worst, I suppose.
Image by David Shrigley, Unfinished Letter , Steel. 500mm x 400mm x 2mm.
All her life she had believed in something more, in the mystery that shape-shifted at the edge of her senses. It was the flutter of moth wings on glass and the promise of river nymphs in the dappled creek beds. It was the smell of oak trees on the summer evening she fell in love, and the way the dawn threw itself across the cow pond and turned the water to light.
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.
—Mark Strand (via observando)