Liz Gallagher

Home | The Last Issue | Submissions | Achieve: 2004-2009 | Essays

is Irish and lives in the Canary Islands, Spain. She has work published or forthcoming in Mannequin Envy, The Pedestal Magazine, Centrifugal Eye, Wicked Alice, FRIGG, Loch Raven Review, Mad Hatter’s Review, The Hiss Quarterly, Word Riot and Noö. She placed first in IBPC in December 2006.



The invisible woman becomes so by bending light around herself. A headscarf serves as an instrument of worship. A one knee genuflection and it is possible to rhyme off any amount of ill-luck. Her husband once screwed a metal band around his chest and tunnelled a way into his heart. It was something close to a cloaking device. She boils potatoes, turnips, cabbage in even doses. She sheds at least three skins without breaking any of the laws of physics. At night she rests a head on drawn-up knees. At dawn she rolls marbles on a sidewalk and bets with herself on the chance of being caught.


Her husband has a surface that has numerous pentimenti. Soon, he will be in a double-jacketed plastic bag up to his neck. Iced water will circulate. Soon, she will be a small object surrounded by thin metal sheets. She will disappear into an optical illusion and onlookers will hog the kerb.





In the Kitchen with Chestnuts and Tomatoes


The days are too short to be lent out sporadically to beekeepers. I count the blemishes on my inner thigh and curse under my breath at the slinky, sling-backs I will never wear. The world has done away with hobble and crutch. I will resume forward steps even if the scarecrow in the adjoining field is raising a branch at me and/or his carrot nose has been shat upon. I tear the skin off hot tomatoes and through the steamed up kitchen window, I make out the drowsy figure of a husband rest his shoulder against the dead plum tree. His beret sits upright like a forthright exclamation mark. Raising champagne glasses to each other in the minister’s garden was frowned upon, instead we tore through a zero pedestrian city to reach the top flat in the ugliest tower. I laid a aby’s sick bib on my shoulder while a new husband popped champagne. A game of hang-man lies like an idle doodle in a recipe book. Four letters, beginning with F. A plane groans to a standstill. Padre Pio’s statue considers cracking. A husband pelts invisible snow balls; he lands palms down to evade the winter sun casting a disjointed rainbow behind his back. I alternate between cracking chestnut shells and pressing temples in a diminutive drunken-sailor way; Snap-Press-Snap-Press-Snap-Press…I reach a crescendo note. Outside ten geese cackle.  





A Voice Slips


My voice slipped overboard and made it ashore the day

I fished on the Sea of Japan, within sight of a nuclear reactor. (Sínead Morrissey)


The Poisoned Glen is a place broken enough to shade a stranger.


One day its silence will knock out a burglar. Light beams

and broadens over moth ball smells.


On its side it is still beautiful. My fathers says: I love the way

it all winds up.


He feels his chest for tremors of what might be.

His name is etched in the black tar of telegraph poles


scattered precariously around the Gothic Church.

His blood thickens and thins in time


with nuclear chain reactions that initiate,

control and sustain at a steady rate.


A star he wishes upon relies on nuclear fusion.

He says there will be no meltdown.




A Clock Tick Invasion


A clock tick has invaded my forehead. It shuffles between the rim of one plucked eyebrow and the down slope of a neglected temple. I singe the hemline of a just-right mini skirt until its brown scorch makes a pattern the shape of the Bay of Biscay. You, me and a white dog arrange our silhouettes on rocks facing the Atlantic. Midnight bells ring. We pack peeled grapes down our plunging fronts and blow champagne bubbles down past each others hanging tonsils. There are cables on cobblestones. To trip and be on a trip can mean the same. Someone’s tuxedo suit is doing the splits. You manhandle everything that comes apart. Taut goat skin stretched over a *bodhrán sentimentalises the inside of: mango mousse, being alive, a dead tuna…everything you gather with 2 hands. Kisses take cover in the chill of white wine. A fast march home dismantles   promises. Small fireworks free-fall, their colours, lost, half way up the sky.