Through the Square Window

Sinead Morrissey

In my dream the dead have arrived

to wash the windows of my house.

There are no blinds to shut them out with.


the clouds above the Lough are stacked

like the clouds are stacked above Delft.

They have the glutted look of clouds over water.


The heads of the dead are huge. I wonder

if it's my son they're after, his

effortless breath, his ribbon of years-


but he sleeps on unregarded in his cot,

inured, it would seem, quite naturally

to the sluicing and battering and parting back of glass


that delivers this shining exterior…

One blue boy holds a rag in his teeth

between panes like a conjuror.


And then, as suddenly as they came, they go.

And there is a horizon

from which only the clouds stare in,


the massed canopies of Hazelbank,

the severed tip of the Strangford Peninsula,

and a density in the room I find it difficult to breathe in


until I wake, flat on my back with a cork

in my mouth, stopper-bottled, in fact,

like a herbalist's cure for dropsy.