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