Jamie O'Halloran: a poem



Number


These days, I have been counting

trees and their places. I counted

seventeen different trees in five places.


That was before I counted the leaflets

of the compound leaves of ash and rowan.

That was before I counted those trees


on the far side of the sheep wire fence

that bounds the orchard.

I counted the trees twice last week.


In my dream I am still counting.

In my dream I count you among the living.

I counted on you among the living


without counting the living.

These days, I am

where I used to count time


to the place where I count

this day. I stopped minding

the official count. I am minding it again.


Variations reveal themselves in the way

the spacing and shape of leaflets

tell me rowan from ash.


These days, I see this is how I count

trees and friends who stiffened

into trees. These days, I count them


with the dying cells I shed in sleep.

They are the leaves I count. I count

them in groves, columns of salt.



Jamie O’Halloran is an American-Irish poet whose Corona Connemara & Half a Crown was awarded second place in the 2021 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her poems appeared most recently in Southword, Skylight 47 and The Honest Ulsterman. She lives above a river in Connemara with her husband, one cat and two donkeys.