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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Micro-CNF: 169 words
By Bayveen O’Connell

Stolen Child

—After the poem by W. B. Yeats

She is tiny in the bed with the rails up to stop her rolling out: not that she has the strength or comfort to move. Are all these tubes, cables, cannulas, and catheters connected to her, or she to them? Her chest rises and falls, imperceptibly at times. Her eyelids twitch and flicker; I wonder what is chasing her through her dreams. Her head shifts an inch on the stiff pillow and another curl floats free: a dead petal. There are hums and clicks and buzzes in the eerie blue light. She is a small, distorted alien under the covers. She is mine, but sometimes I don’t know or recognise her. Perhaps the faeries swapped out her well self and are dancing it away by moonlight across the sands of furthest Rosses. Her eyelids quiver once more and I think she isn’t being chased but chasing after her well self, crawling and pawing on all fours to wrestle it back.



*Publisher’s Note:

“The Stolen Child” by Irish playwright and poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is from his first collection The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889). The poem has been featured in song, film, and literature, and its beloved refrain has become iconic:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Bayveen O’Connell
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is an Irish writer who loves art, folklore, myth, history, and travel. Her short fiction has been nominated for Best Microfiction and the Pushcart Prize. She’s currently working on a collection based on surviving childhood cancer.

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