The following piece was published in our February/March 2021 issue of the magazine.
Tasting her still, I’d walk home
in smog, frost, past burnt-out cars,
and under bridges, as though the night
was safer than her bed.
As I squat in the boggy grass
somewhere above Baltinglass,
I see myself as I was then, braced
against wind in the underpass,
wearing a thin black coat, and trainers
that never dried. Here too,
between the Sitka spruce,
everything is so wet. Mist
pimples my two flanks,
steam rises from my piss,
smells hot and animal, at home
with the mushrooms and the sheep
tugging grass. The valley echoes
inside the November cloud.
I’ve learnt I can’t protect myself,
that I am always open, I yield,
drop by drop. Unsteady now,
I stand up, a little muddier,
make my way to the car, to the person
I trust to wait for me.
Winner of The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2020.
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