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Saoirse by Daniel Fraser

Cork, July afternoon

A shirtless man with a black mohawk is raking

dry leaves across the road

her name tattooed on his spine, letters a foot high

blue Dunhill lip-hung and peeling

the uncaring lilt of decades pulling at that

sweet smoke, the pleasure of destruction transfigured

over muscle. Your back creaks like a knife

discoloured in the body of a whale

a beaching of something ancient

on a cold Atlantic shore, the carving

of sorrow into sustenance. I want to know

what broken bond, what gasp of newborn breath

could inaugurate this ink? Instead our mouths lay

soft as straw across the threshold of a speech left

quietly alone, eyes sharing a look that says

promises, that says we are the rough bodies

that know these afternoons, the blunt keepers

of words thickened into sinew. I say thank you

to the rays that burned us into being

and to her, the great shadow, gathered up

into this testament of skin.


Daniel Fraser is a writer from Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. His poetry and prose have featured in: LA Review of BooksAeonAcumenX-R-A-YEntropyThe London Magazine, and Dublin Review of Books among others. He was awarded 3rd prize in The London Magazine 2019 Poetry Competition. Twitter @oubliette_mag.  Web


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