Geraldine Mills – The Seduction of Story

Mills LE P&W 1 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One Nov-Dec 2023

The Seduction of Story, poems by Geraldine Mills.

The Seduction of Story

Just beyond O’Brien’s bridge,
she tight-roped her way above the water,
drawn by the flute music soaring
towards the Atlantic
long after it became something else.

Her bare soles read the tense of the wire
and sure-footed she worked her way
across to the music maker,
became his brightening sky.

They lived together in rapture days,
he drew the crowds in the Galway market,
there among brown soda bread, floury potatoes,
featherbone bowls,
she perfecting her balancing act
(tight as a lemon thorn)
in their field outside the city walls.

Until one Saturday while he was away
she read from the intensity of her foot against line
that a woman can get hungry for something
more than a raptor’s wingspan gliding
in a skein of blue and know that she must go.

The truth is, there never was a tightrope,
lemon thorn, a featherbone, but
there was a woman who heard
the morning open up its mouth,
urging her to turn her back on
polished concrete floors, onyx worktops,
leave the door wide open as she left.

Outside the purple alliums became new planets
spinning off their axes around her.


What we did was
sleep through
the noise of the baskets being pulled
from under
the still warm kitchen range
as we did for
the clatter of plates against the walls,
socks and underwear
scattered across the red and black lino,
our mother
sitting up in bed, shivering.

Next morning at the breakfast table
her hand shook
as she cupped it around a Gold Flake,
her tea untouched,
blaming the ghost, ordering us to marry each sock
to its mate
refold our knickers, vests, slips,
the tidied baskets to their sooty retreat
a catkin of ash
fluttering onto her toast.

© Geraldine Mills

Geraldine Mills is a poet and fiction writer. She has published five collections of poetry, three of short stories and two children’s novels. She is an experienced facilitator and is a member of Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools’ Scheme. Her most recent publication is When the Light: New and Selected Poems (Arlen House, 2023).

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