The men found her
and sat on her legs, winding her body
backwards and forwards
until all that was left
was a wind up toy
plucked out of a child’s jewelry box.
Heavily pregnant, she walked.
A shattered lady, white and predatory as an owl.
She was tightly clothed in woolen things,
but she did not look warm.
When she came to the big house
she stayed close to the door of whatever room she happened to be in
as if waiting for a chance to slip out.
She saw mournful shadows in her sleep
so most nights she slept alone
with the goats
in the barn or by the fire
on the hearth.
She moved to New York and worked as a twenty dollar call girl
and when she returned to Ireland her skin
was a wet mass of mildew
flaking in the sea spray,
her child a barnacle on her hip.
Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling station. Erin was a 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction. She will complete her MA in Creative Writing in August 2018 and begin a MA in Irish Folklore and Ethnology at University College Dublin in 2019. Erin’s debut novel. Advice for Amateur Beekeepers and Taxidermists will be published by Stonehouse Publishing in 2019.