Mother's Pride


Handy with a knife,
his preferred medium
was Mothers Pride plain toast.
This is the way the nuns
eat – soldiers. This
is the Protestant half.

Here’s Omagh, Belfast,
Enniskillen, Dublin, Donegal
with Errigal hastily moulded
from Clew Bay, a crumb
for an island for every day
of the year, and Cork,

where John Mac lives.
Lough Erne’s two narrow slits;
Lough Neagh a slanty
oblong poked right through.
A final flourish, grinning,
his pièce de resistance

was the border
which my frowning mother
quickly buttered over,
stabbing the bread,
drawing the knife
out clean.

________________


Paula Cunningham

 

Paula Cunningham was born in Omagh, County Tyrone, and lives in Belfast. She won the Poetry Business competition in 1999, and a poetry chapbook ‘A Dog Called Chance’ was published by Smith/Doorstop that year. Her poems have been widely published and anthologised; she has also written drama and short fiction. A short story appeared in David Marcus’s ‘Faber Best New Irish Short Stories 2004-2005’. In 2011 she won the Hippocrates Poetry Prize and was commended in the Edwin Morgan Prize; in 2013 she was placed third in the Ballymaloe International Poetry Competition. Her first full collection, 'Heimlich’s Manoeuvre' is due imminently from Smith/Doorstop. She currently holds an award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, having done so twice previously. She works part-time as a dentist and is hard at work on her next poetry collection as well as short stories and non-fiction. She is also very interested in visual art, collaboration, teaching and translation.