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Image by Sara Gacic


with the martello journal

Cill Droma

by claire loader

In the end we are a trickle, karst hilltops lifted out from the sea, rock worn as if by the
ocean, the rain, the constant flow to its base. They call this place Cill Droma, the Church of
the Ridge, though no trace of such remains. The only ringfort now a cluster of stones,
bulldozed into a pile, tips yellow with the bloom of gorse.

There were trees here once, whole forests, temperate woods before axe and scythe. There
were cattle, roaming fortunes, before stone walls, potato drills crisscrossed the raised earth.
And always the water from that first rise, each since, labours to flow ever downward; tears
over an unmarked burial - sacred water, sacrifice - seeping into the waiting clay. Spring rains,
winter’s damp. All filters down, finds its way into the dark caverns of the soil.

There is a lisín at the bottom of the hill. Memories set down with tiny bones beneath the
earth. We think of history separately, as if the energy of life divides us from the dead - that
the water I wash the dishes with, the sweat with which we toil, somehow stays. Yet our
memories will go too, where others were placed. Little bodies laid to rest, where our own
will eventually find them.

Lisín – an unconsecrated burial ground for children

Claire Loader is a New Zealand born writer and photographer now living in Galway, Ireland. Her work has been published in various magazines, including Poetry Bus, Splonk, Crannóg and Skylight47. She is a Forward and Pushcart Prize nominee and this year sees her collective anthology Pushed Toward the Blue Hour published by Nine Pens Press.

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