And They Taught Her Not to Speak

Oisín Breen


It is raining,
And the cold morning air
Haunts her afternoon.

It is raining,
And she has wandered fifteen years
To find a grandmother she has never met,
Who she believes is just a days walk away.

She is like a graveyard.
She’s there,
But you try not to see her.
And, increasingly,
She dreams of death.

She likes to whisper to trees, too,
And sometimes they whisper back,
But when she mentions it,
No one listens.

And tomorrow,
When the birds fall from the sky
She will watch,
And tell no one,
Because they have taught her
Not to speak.



Irish poet, academic, and journalist, Oisín Breen’s debut, ‘Flowers, all sorts in blossom …’ was released Mar., 2020. A Best of the Net Nominee, Breen is published in 95 journals in 20 countries, including in About Place, Door is a Jar, Northern Gravy, North Dakota Quarterly, Books Ireland, The Tahoma Literary Review, La Piccioletta Barca, Decomp, New Critique, and Reservoir Road. Breen’s second collection, the experimental Lilies on the Deathbed of Étaín will be published by Beir Bua Press, January 2023.