Anne Daly

A turlough blooms each winter at the bottom of our road. It used to be my road, when I was a child. A stone-chipped, meandering strait that brought me from the clamour of the main road, up the craggy hill to home. Now home is not that home anymore but still I return, seasonal as the swallows that pass above my head.

And there it was today, a swirling alloy of groundwater rippling across the bone-thirsty karst. It heaved, a cloud-hungry surface that would not be stilled, hiding rock and soil and grass beneath its glittering tongue. It called to me as I steered the metal hull of my car along the road, whispering soft vowels into the wing-mirror on the empty passenger side.

I turned my eyes away, glanced at the sky that draped itself around the rising tarmac in front of me. I could have cried at its beauty, how the light poured through a crack in the clouds. A chrism of winter sunlight spreading out across the fields, pearly and soft as the heat of newborn skin.

A bump at the wheel and I felt the steering jerk. My attention snapped back as I re-set my course and checked for damage. I thought of the gate and drive-way and gables ahead of me. The familiar smells and the slow declination of time. The silence that belies a welcome, the wish to be able to do more.

Anne Daly is a writer who lives in Co. Meath, Ireland. Her short fiction and poems have appeared in a number of online and print journals. Her writing has recently featured in Drawn to the Light Press, The Honest Ulsterman and Beir Bua Journal. She won second place in the Allingham Fiction Prize, 2021.