Inishmore by Catherine Fahey

A 5,000 year old ring fort defends the cliff
from invaders, its stones

offering little protection to tourists.
So you crawl along the drop.

There’s nothing for you at home.  Your parents
sold the house your freshman year;

You came back at Thanksgiving break
to a cot in a basement.

Now, standing on the western edge of Europe—
No one would notice if you were pushed, or if you fell.

You came here to find yourself—
you tried on different names: one week Catherine,

another week Kate. You changed behaviors
as you changed names.

You’ve sent out hundreds of résumés.
You’re living here on the last dollars

of subsidized student loans.
The government owns your brain.

Below you, a solitary cranesbill, pink petals
blooming against the gray waves,

defiant and bright it clings to the cliff face;
braver and more content than you.

You came to Ireland to find yourself—
to lose yourself.

You got drunk on Redbull and vodka,
spent the night with a boy

in a squeaky hostel bed, uncomfortable
in your skin and his hands.

Now it’s you and the cranesbill,
dangling on the edge of potential.

It’s 100 meters to the ocean below. It’s
3,000 miles to Boston. It’s 7 kilometers
to the ferry and back to Galway.


Catherine Fahey is a writer and librarian from Salem, Massachusetts.

Photo: Miguel Baumann


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