Áine Rose

The Créatúr at Loch an Tairbh

won’t rise its calf-head up through water

unless you circle its stone, twice times three

where Queen Medbh’s bull drank darkness full.

It motors in weedy reed, eely-eyes leering

over a pike tracing the clay. A ribcage

tightens into taut harp, plucking bonish

chords of cartilage for trout to blow.

Was it in this bath of lukewarm lake I knew

I had yet to learn to love myself?

I cast quietly into an opening and catch

a hook around my heart, pull to tug

then watch its muscle pump into monster blink.

I see the scar on my wrist melt off, a thin

layer of congealed fat, and lightly float

*Loch an Tairbh is a calf-shaped lough near Reenascreena, West Cork, Ireland.

An artist, poet, and speech & language therapist from Donegal, Áine Rose Connell received the Emerging Artist Bursary from Arts & Health (2022). She works as an artist facilitator in Uilliinn: West Cork Arts Centre. Her work has featured in Drawn to the Light Press, The Storms Journal, Irish Arts Review and A New Ulster and can be found at www.aine-rose.com.