Revisiting the Cliffs of Moher

by Stephanie Conn

Back then we travelled around Ireland
with only a twoman tent in the boot.
We followed the light across hills of sand,
stopping to pop the taut flesh of a strawberry
into the other’s mouth, or halve a peach,
juice dripping from our tanned fingers.

Long before the Cliffs had a visitor centre
or charged for a view, we sat at the edge
watching a giant sun set fire to the sea,
and heard the gulls cry out from their nests.
That night I learned a waves longing for land,
to crash against porous rock, again and again.

I woke to the warmth of midmorning and the
smell of damp grass and bacon, saw your back
curved over a small white stove. We ate eggs
together, in a milky silence, from a single fork.
Now, we stay in a hotel room for four, to save me
cooking breakfast. They serve eggs three ways.

This time we see the cliffs from below. They seem
higher; the people up there are smudged dots under
a grey sky. The heaving waves turn sightseers green,
send them begging for plastic bags. I soothe our children.
Above deck, you set your feet apart to keep steady,
ready to photograph the jagged edge from every angle.

Later, you show me how the light shifts in a square screen.
These shots mean nothing to me unlike the proofs I hold
in my head, of a burning sky and slim fingers entwined.
We brush our teeth in matching marble sinks. Tonight
I hush you hold a finger to my puckered lips
we cannot wait to retrace forgotten lines in the dark.