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2 poems by Alicia Byrne Keane


Shh. You are in the photo

and you are here. Your ghost

opens like an offshoot,

a being curled sap-sticky

in the crux of two discordant

outfits. Your hair is dyed

an unfamiliar colour. Shoulders

tilt, protecting softness. You flit

into the less difficult parts

of the scene, the stranded

moss-stains on the stable rooves,

the gutters of the concrete yard.

You are here, and all along

Lombard Street West, flowers

inch themselves from the lee

of houses into the sun.


After Rachel Lowe

the sky is green or greened

dusk or window-tint

hills layer in a belated imitation

you can see where the wrist has flicked

the hand in silhouette is a flower or a beak

a ghost is often kinetic

like the times I closed my eyes

on the phone and drew friends’ faces

looping from memory

the rooves are terracotta and low

an orb high in the windowed sky

could be the shape of a tree

eventually all the lines tangle into a storm

and there is really nothing

like an overpass

nothing like a layby like an eyebrow

or a fingernail or the stitched hem

of a t-shirt anymore since

a ghost is the nib of a pen squeaking

on the surface of the window

as the car speeds away

a noise so clean I think

of a cat’s small perfect teeth


Alicia Byrne Keane is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, published in The Stinging Fly, Causeway / Cabhsair, The Honest Ulsterman, The Moth, and The Colorado Review, among others. Further work is forthcoming from Stand, Boulevard and Banshee; Alicia’s debut full collection will be published by Broken Sleep Books in 2023.


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