[Poetry] — Nora Doorley

The Butterfly’s Prayer

At the apex of joined forewings
Is an exaltation.
A lonesome monarch,
Solemn hands clasped together
Before a brickwork backdrop.

The rhythm is off, slowing
Wing speed to a clap.
Crepe paper discal cell –
Winter-gleam soaked chiffon –
The fatal finitude of flight.

But by some glitch,
Our paths may be altered.
Lord knows, the butterfly effect ain’t gospel,
Because I have seen
Determinism undone by miracles.

Upon your frailties
I fix my attention
And watch you, for a while –
Just as you watch me.


Eggshells in Marolles

They numbered four, the eggshells there –
Reposed indifferently on the outer ledge
Of a three-storey townhouse in Marolles.

By the sundial of a water pipe,
Just shy of the tin tile armour,
Delicate speckled casings lay liable
To the cold assault of shadow.

While not far from here, next to
That carved out pool of aqua,
Those last few ducks sit loaf-like
On weary palmate feet.

The showers have passed
And the soil has opened
Which animates the green.

But in the pebbling light
Below the sun squeezed leaves
Of weathered birch,
Hostile dust, circling upwards, startles

How fast it changes, then,
When the flow and ebb
Of unhurried breath
Turns to panic and a quickened pulse.

To a muted audience of stones,
The undulating cackles
And tremulous cries

With unresolved prehistories.

For that ledge is no incubator –
Hollow shells with little protection,
Marked by gravity’s pull of plumage
And the tell-tale glint of bone –
Concave breast
By wings of toothed combs.

Colourised decay,
Like iron oxidising to rust.


Nora Doorley is a Dubliner currently living in Brussels. She studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin and was named the Island of Ireland Regional Winner for Literature in the 2018 Undergraduate Awards. She has had work published in the Studies in Arts and Humanities JournalThe Lonely CrowdThe Brussels Times and Europe’s World