Poems for Niamh

Pouring salt water places it should not be

They left their perfume then

They left you

Calvin Klein In2you Her, ironic.

Each morning I drown myself

in the smell of the first time we met,

in the smell of the first time I touched your hair,

in the smell of the first time I cut your hair.

I  wade through the current of each undertone to find, what?

Why am I pouring this down my throat?

How can I speak when the oceans fist penetrates my lungs?

Every morning I gargle, wrestling the salt water in my lungs

to remind myself of a new first experience.

Experienced only with you.

An experience that now can only live within you and

these pebbles on the shore weigh heavy.

Then let me be a barnacle and you are the oceans tides,

I linger like perfume after a workout

To a sweaty erotic daydream

Petrified, tossed up and laid to rest over and over by the oceans oscillating touch.

I’m waiting for a small girl with the short blonde bob

to take her kitchen knife and slice me from this rock.

The girl wears a yellow rain jacket,

waterproof pants to match,

A yellow bucket hat and a huge grin.

the girl has blue eyes and an imprint

of her father’s hand in hers she has dimples

on the side of her cheek she does not know

Of pain she does not yet know suffering.

she does not yet know how to love

how she will be loved and who she would love,

she is unfazed by the tide.

she will sever the mass

Take it and prod it in the squishy part until it squirm’s again,

little does she know she this scene replace throughout her whole life,

A barnacle, a tide and unfazed little girl prodding the soft flesh underneath,

But for now I’ll just drown in your perfume

So that the tides can not take me,

Little girl I’m waiting.

Little girl, please hurry.


Gravy down your chin

We wrestle and sweat and let

The veg soak it up

I give you a plate of sweetcorn

But the real me is the buried pea

Buttery and small

Consumed by trying to be

Yellow and crunchy

You have chopsticks

Sift through the corn

And your frustrated

I can see it on your face

Because you can’t use chopsticks

Because you can’t find the pea

So you eat the corn

       Two fingers like a spoon

It tastes fine

I assure and

reassure you

Tell myself that what

I’m saying is right

But it’s not, I fight

with myself

I’m having to tear the truth out

it’s painful

It’s gross

And that is why

I know it is self-love

I know it is self-love

And that’s why

It’s gross

It’s painful

I assure myself

I reassure myself

This time it was me

Third time lucky we said

I couldn’t swallow the mouth full

For even a week

It’s stuck here,

Here have it


Bubble and squeak now

Mushed and pressed

To the flame

To the stress

No diamond this time

I’m sorry

All I have left

to give you

Is chewed up food

By the way

You have gravy down your chin


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