The Good Room by Karen J McDonnell

Where were the other children?

Way down the garden, or clambering

over the leopard-print seats

in the Morris Minor?


You were in the front room,

the parlour, the sitting room,

the good room.

His waistcoat facing you.


There must have been mention

of a penny bar over on

the mantelpiece, because you

swung your head back


when you heard her at the door.

Perhaps it was her tone,

like the ice cubes she put in

the Saturday glass of Pak orange,


or was it the way she spoke

about you in the third person

when she said it was time

you went home?


You felt that, somehow,

you had done something wrong.

No memory of coming or going.


Tell me, child, why


do you still grasp this time-shard

when memories are lost

as easily as a daisy hair clip

in a day’s rough and tumble?


This poem is published in Karen J McDonnell's debut collection This Little World, a signed first edition is available at Take Heart Pop Up Art, all proceeds to Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Her work has won and been listed in competitions including the 2017 Robert Monteith, Poems for Patience, and Dermot Healy Poetry prizes. You can read more on her website.

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