Jenny Byrne

Numbers game

Jenny Byrne

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These bloodstained hands once clung to a mother’s hem for comfort


I fumble thick fingered now, poor seamstress

no knack for measurement to stitch and sew, align

the pattern of their shredded still beating hearts


I lack skill to sort the notes, cannot sing or dance

to this contorted rhythm I do not understand


I know not the code to be friend, wife, creator of life;

to save a marriage from drowning


I donned a cap and gown three times yet these lessons evade me


Do not attempt to teach me of nature’s sequence and Fibonacci

I have seen the magic—

children multiply and families divide


Could you hear me scream my way to the guillotine

as the jury declared my guilt for loving. Innocent? Perhaps—


but I can determine to throw a knife and hit my target

square in the back at a thousand paces.


Jenny Byrne


Jenny Byrne lives in Dublin. Her poetry has appeared in Impspired, Drawn to the Light Press, the Galway Review, Black Bough Poetry, Dreich, Acropolis Journal, the Madrigal and Púca. She is a contributor to wave seven of iamb - poetry seen and heard. She is on Twitter @jenbyrnewrites.