There are signs.
A certain greyness under the skin,
a way of being careful,
of holding your body as if new to it.
Teeth that clench tight together
A hesitancy just before speech,
eyes that slide off everything.
There is a franticness to the control,
a feeling that your legs will not hold.
You are right on the edge of knowledge
and nothing can soften the blow.
Your hands touch your face often
and otherwise hold onto window ledges,
desk edges, chair arms—solid things,
heavy, strong immovable things.
Your breath is shallow and quick,
never filling your lungs, never reaching your belly.
Your arms wrap round your body
keeping everything still,
trying to hold it all intact.
Eabhan Ní Shuileabháin is the daughter of an Irish American father and an Irish mother, both of whom are now deceased. She still regrets they saw so little of her poetry in print. She has published poems in a range of journals in Ireland, Britain, Europe, Australia and the United States. She is currently putting together a collection for publication.