“The Women Who Loved Me & The Women Who Couldn’t” by Clodagh Mooney Duggan


There is a guilt attached to needing,
You were trusting and deceived.
Coins that were used to cover eyes, lie broken,
And trampled upon.

Uncovered scars lie dripping
And untended to.
Five men travel across the deserts for you.
You breathe in life,
And I took it.

Children beside a fire see something in the future,
A smile upon lips that was never passed.
There was a contract I never signed or intended to.

What can we say if sorry isn’t sorry enough?
Glass, and water dripping on the coffee cups.
Unread letters in shoe boxes.

Do you think there was ever a music in silence?
Tunes that hit upon our ears as we danced,
Unassuming and undressed
In the tiled kitchen.

I never did.
Not really.
I wanted to
To fall into something that wasn’t my own
Striking distance from a championship.

The words fall from our lips and out the window.
I left.
I think I always intended to.

Unwanted villains sneaking into the wanted mundane.
Coffee and two sugars
Black only on one side.
What can we say if sorry isn’t sorry enough?



Never be,
Never be sorry or fearful.
The faint sounds of birds and school children outside your window.
As I press my body against the glass.
You behind.

I am crumbs,
The sun that hits the back of your neck
Lie in me.
Bathe in me.
You are the presumed safety net.

The walker never sees,
Just trusts.
And in the moments of falling,
Prays to a deaf god.

But on you, was a need hope.
A safety bridge,
A maturity.
Love is thing with imposed memories.

You are a heartbeat.
A thing I wish I could drive from my chest.
I thing I wish I didn’t need
But live without.

Smiles happen without
And happy

The pause will resume and she will wake
I did
I was
And cannot be



Crumpled flags are upheaved from the ground.
Mud and grit,
Red fog fills the air as footsteps are retraced.

Young children holding near gold awards.
Broken ankles and legs
From running without the knowledge of how.

The stands have forgotten our names now.
There are new uniforms.

New teams.

The blues and the pinks fade.
And distance noises are muffled under the shroud of years,
With faded scars and scratches.

We have
I remember.

From the growing pains and memories lost
An untouched wrist
Kisses faded on necks
Sprouting from our backs.

The clouds burst
And maybe we will find each other beneath one.



Heavy. And Moving.

The first sprinklings of green,
With it
The faintest
Feeling of something being unearthed.

There was something there years ago,
A life of something longing,
Trailing behind a mouth that never moved
And words that were never rasped

How do we portray the thing we having being fearing.
A fearlust of sprinklings from a fractured podium.
How do we list the pain that is buried beneath the skin
Coming out in small intervals
Barely voiced but shaking in the body

I was stronger before
Hidden behind snapshots of sensitivity
There is a faithfulness in an unknown truth.

I give you a flower,
As if the cliché of the manner will be renewed
For only us.
Smiling with the innocence of a child running from their mother.

Possession presents a conundrum,
Withering in hands unsure of the level of comfort.
And shattered glass.

A glistening bead of sweat rolling down the nose of a rearing horse.
A guard,
Broken down for a moment of stillness
Only to be rebuilt more so.

The bedframe creaks and moves under
The heaviness of a light-hearted laugh.
I draw a map on your skin.

Noting the moles and freckles like consolations
To find home by.
The nape of your neck a sort of memory
Or creation of such.

What do you say to the person that saved your life?
As old flowers decay on the mantle piece
Dusts of pollen linger like fingerprints.

Reaching for a taut rope,
Based purely on an unspoken promise
Love bursts on our lips,
A question unasked.

I will follow you.



The segments of memories are strewn on a plush carpet
Pink and oranges
Bursting behind a low section of glass.

I give you a lie.
It’s all I can offer without plunging from my chest
I am
In the cemented memory of a child reaching for a hand that wasn’t there.

What do you think is the lifespan of heartbreak?

A crumbling brick
A grandfather clock unticking in the hall.
I fix myself in an image.
Adjust the lipstick to a smile that was there before
You remember that song, don’t you.

That chest tightening
Notes being added to a pile

What books did they burn in Germany?


The Women Who Loved Me & The Women Who Couldn’t © Clodagh Mooney Duggan

Clodagh Duggan by City Headshots Dublin

Clodagh Mooney Duggan is an emerging poet. She originally trained as an actor, graduating from The Gaiety School of Acting in 2013. Since then, she has begun writing for the stage and is currently writing Made from Paper, which will premiere in Dublin 2020 in The Scene and Heard Festival. The Women Who Loved Me & The Women Who Couldn’t will be her first published collection.

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