Cliffs of Moher – July 2016

The cow’s lashes catch the rain—sudden

deluge, as if Lugh himself yanked

some stopper from the sky. Valleys

fold the storm into pockets.

At the cliffs, gale winds gave way

to decadent sun, instant to instant—

little could we predict. From the window

of the tour bus I watch a pair of ducks

waddle through tall grass. You sit

in the row in front of me, careful—

I think—to keep me

from getting the wrong idea.

The mallard flaps his wings, rattles

his neck toward a splotch of sunlight.

Ecstatic at the cliffs

we dangled our limbs

over all that emptiness.

Give me an inch of cliff face—

you know the rest. I find a dry spot

on a park bench. I buy a half-

pint. My self-help book cautions me

not to fret over what I can’t control.

At the cliffs, the wind billowed

our clothing for a moment—cold

air wicked sweat from our ribs. We inched

on our bellies to the edge, our faces

hovered over the Atlantic. Sea-birds froth

below them. All these vacation homes

scattered empty on the Irish coast. Houses full

of nobody. Still, the mournful laid-down

cow follows the bus with her gaze,

and the ice-age long ago dragged

a kind of lattice into the granite

of the Burren. After lunch, you sit behind

  1. We’re on the wrong side of the bus

to see the geologic remnants

out the window. I crane across the rows,

will sacrifice my dignity to get the picture

every time. The littleness of a moment

makes me desperate

to hold it. After we left the cliffs

rain streaked the bus’s windows.

I turned enough to see

the light ripple across your face.

Jessica Morey-Collins

Jessica Morey-Collins received her MFA from the University of New Orleans, where she won an Academy of American Poets award, and worked as associate poetry editor for Bayou Magazine. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Juked, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a Masters of Community and Regional Planning at the University of Oregon. Find her at www.jessicamoreycollins.com