Featured in her latest book, This Far


The children swarm outside
the supermarket, arms flailing,
their high-pitched exclamations
surround me, my own arms laden
with groceries. My mind suddenly shifts
to tally one week’s arithmetic of grief:
eighty children among the hundreds killed
in a fine-tuned cone of shrapnel,
three siblings on a Gaza rooftop
before the missile landed, and four
cousins on a beach incinerated
in the time it takes me to close the car door.
Tonight the trees are full of starlings.
Their racket rising into a delicate
tremolo, like in that Bernstein Sonata
for Violin that stretches the strings
almost to breaking.

Runner up, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize,
Hunger Mountain, 2018

Other Poems

Twilight, Ardgroom

County Antrim Archeology


Their voices

Vespers, Hunting Creek


O’Toole’s visionary poems explore the boundaries between light and dark, past and present, life and death.”

—Michael Simms

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