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O’Leary’s Grave


They’re reshooting the Rising
up at Collins Barracks.
White Winnebagos line up.
Volunteers form an orderly queue
for the catering, Asgard safely
moored behind cordons.
They’ll get it in higher definition
this time,  take all the takes
they need, apply the make-up
to Pearse’s squint expertly,
photoshop Dev in
if the director requires.
Extras lounge about,
drift in and out of collonades,
wander further afield,
tall skinnies in hand.
Out front, Croppy’s Acre is padlocked.
The Corpo turned the key
when the citizens started
bedding down there, sharing
sleeping bags and needles,
messing up the view.
Right now, two of them frisk a third
who hasn’t moved for hours:
still-life, ready
for his close-up.
Zoom in to Romantic Ireland
blue-inked on his wrist.
© Nessa O’Mahony
Picture 10181590, stereo photograph, 1916, image copyright Mary Evans



Nessa O’Mahony was born in Dublin and lives there. She won the National Women’s Poetry Competition and was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Prize and Hennessy Literature Awards. She is the recipient of three literature bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland, the most recent being in 2018. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Bangor University and teaches with the Open University and the American College in Dublin. Her first work of historic crime fiction, The Branchman, was published by Arlen House in 2018.  She has published five books of poetry – Bar Talk, (1999), Trapping a Ghost (2005), In Sight of Home (2009) and Her Father’s Daughter (2014); The Hollow Woman on the Island was published by Salmon Poetry in May 2019.