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.


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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 http://danieljamesfraser.wordpress.com/.