Forgotten By Lavender Askew

The darkness that they faced, the faces forgotten, only a name to see in stone.

The struggle that I face, one created by my own, but that you made real.

A bairn, left to fend off the gunshots and the uniform men in unorganised unison.

But you knew. Whispers shared, truths and lies exchanged, and you were kept in the know.

Bright blue eyes, that in the night seemed to glow, stars and galaxies, infinite worlds.

Hardened skin, well used to it, but never failing to place trust in people who aren’t deserving.

He felt the warmth through her uniform, attempting to hush him, shushing him to sleep.

And they, falling into bed, feeling cold sheets against their face, seeing only darkness.

The wee one slips into a deep sleep, the only sign of life the pacifier moving slowly, as the gunfire continues.

And the gunfire in my head keeps steadily firing, as a tear is shed, and it’s silently said we’ve parted ways.

Dublin and I Are No Longer Intimate By Odin O’Sullivan

The welcome is gone from the air

Husks and shells, buildings and people

A strong sun bleaches the paving stones

It brings the Liffey to a boil, sets the glass windows aflame and allows the stench of piss to rise, steaming from the ground.

Into vacant buildings, the light leaks

A space made homely by its warmth

The cranes glint, sluggish and serpentine as they swing through the air

Harbingers of progress, tendrils

Metallic, that ever-present stench 

It sneaks around corners 

Ten stories, all the same 

Exposed brick 

Spare some change 

The river roils white hot and the bridges that span it collapse 

Back and forth, either side the quays burn, the vultures loom, and their wings blot out the sun

Another death

A nation of empty promises and pint glasses

They tip us in dollars, and can’t pronounce our names

The sun still shines, and the streets still smell of piss 

And the vultures still circle

Ready to pick the body clean