In mid-life I grew into my childhood hero.

I stood in the hound’s shadow. Its paws,

like circular saw blades,

poised, ready to maul.


I gripped my hurley in one hand,

sliothair in the other,

wished it was only a mythical dog

I had to kill.


The hound’s jaws were prised apart

by verbal battles and egg-shelled

silences. Its hot breath

raised blisters on my skin.


I whacked the sliothair

down its gullet, watched

as the ball dragged the entrails

of my marriage out the rear end.


I grabbed his hind legs, smashed the body

against a concrete wall, became sole guardian

of the vulnerable. The ones,

I believed hound would always protect.

Ann Walsh Donnelly

Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in the west of Ireland. Her poetry has been published in various literary outlets such as Hennessey New Writing in The Irish Times (July 2018), Crannog, Boyne Berries, Cold Coffee Stand and The Blue Nib. Her short stories have been shortlisted in competitions such as the OTE New Writer of the Year Award, Fish International Prize and the RTE Radio One Frances Mac Manus competition. One of her poems was highly commended in the OTE New Writer of the Year Award (2017). She won The Blue Nib Spring 2018 poetry chapbook competition.


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