Lianne O’Hara

The Greenhouse

Electric cobwebs of daughter around my skin:
magnetic fields of resistance, invisible sweat
too slippery to touch. He cannot hold me now.

His tea
the colour of kidneys, of late night summer skies
slowly turning to black in a silent kitchen.

The blinds stay closed all afternoon. I ignore
the smell of drink, and watch a film with him
instead. Somewhere, someone is laughing.

A knife slices into a tomato. Lidl redbush
is washed down with rum and fish oil. Brussel
sprouts are boiling violently on the hob.

I remember a man outside. I remember a man
with brown skin and black hair. I remember
a man who was never really there.

Tiny needles hold the promise of a cure.
The internet sells him stones and aromatherapy.
On Tuesdays, we play checkers with his pills.

The sun is told to stay out of it. High energy rays
are medically provided now: there is no need
for sympathy. Somewhere, someone is laughing.

I put slippers on his feet, turn up the volume
on the telly. Rearrange a blanket, turn off
a ticking clock. I sink into a sticky couch.

Leather like glue to bare legs – small print
of sofa scriptures pushed into melting flesh.
My father does not believe in climate change.

It is always winter.

Lianne O’Hara is a poet and playwright. Her work is published or forthcoming in Borders & Belonging (Cephalo Press, 2022), SexTapeDigest (Broken Sleep Books, 2022), Abridged, No Parties, Sprout, Beir Bua, Skylight 47, Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, The Honest Ulsterman, The Ogham Stone, Channel, Splonk, B O D Y, Amsterdam Quarterly, Crossways, and Black Bough Poetry, and anthologised in Washing Windows Too: Irish Women Write Poetry (Arlen House, 2022), Queering the Green: Post-2000 Queer Irish Poetry (The Lifeboat Press, 2021), and Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets (Dedalus Press, 2019). Her debut play Fluff was performed in a six-show, sold out run as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2022.

To discover more content exclusive to our print and digital editions, subscribe here to receive a copy of The London Magazine to your door every two months, while also enjoying full access to our extensive digital archive of essays, literary journalism, fiction and poetry.

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.