Emma and the Tape Recorder, by Jessica Traynor


Thirty shut-in years of life
bring Emma to a hospital;
her lungs fold like an origami bird.

I think back to the time
my aunt took her from the Home,
that Christmas visit

where in her wheelchair
she howled and howled.
And I remember

the dream where I was locked
in a wind-blown office
with a tape recorder on a desk

that howled and howled
and switched itself on
each time I turned it off

and I woke up saying aloud,
Please Emma, please stop,
though we both knew

there was no stopping,
that the gale in her bones
would blow all her life,

her voice trapped
in the echo chamber
of her ribs.



Jessica Traynor is a writer, dramaturg and creative writing teacher based in Dublin. Her debut collection Liffey Swim is a Bogmans Cannon Recommendation.