My brother used to enfold himself in the oak
with Beano magazines, a can of Coke.
Hidden in leaves like the Toxic Waste sweets
he sucked and spat out in wads of kitchen roll.
Lately he only eats chicken wings, turkey breasts,
gulps raw eggs and protein shakes.
Every day he wraps a resistance band
around his stomach, ties himself to the bole and sprints.
I want to tell him that I too have made wood
of my body, carved it into a coat rack under jackets
of men I thought I loved, a dumb quiet stick.
He is trying to protect the small boy who lived
before the refused engagement ring and unfinished lease.
He can’t hear my small voice calling out for him.
She doesn’t mean to look at his phone
but he’s always whispering into it like a Ouija board,
leaves it unlocked on her pillow.
As if he wants her to see the bare chests
of so many ex-girlfriends, their tummies sucked in,
ribs like fingers clawing out of his screen.
She wants to drag them from his group chats,
his devil emojis. How can she ever admit to finding this?
He returns, sparks pixels of tobacco
and coils around her waist, holds her so tightly,
as if trying to shrink her, bury her
in his obituaries of eyes, lips, cleavage.
Molly Twomey has won the Padraic Colum Poetry Prize (2019), the Waterford Poetry Prize
(2020), the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award (2021) and was chosen for Poetry Ireland’s
Introductions Series (2021). Recently awarded an Arts Council Literature Bursary, her debut
collection came out in May 2022 with The Gallery Press.