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The Boat Builder

That dog on your lap, its paws
resting on your hands as you read the manual 
it has nothing to do with you building a boat
to grieve your brother, I know that, but—
A near death experience is what’s called
taking a spank if you’re a stunt woman
(as you might have been if you hadn’t cried off).
One woman came close when her foam costume
soaked up the sea in a Bond movie.
Boats can be bought flat-pack these days, you know,
ready to assemble. There’s no need—
Your brother would have gone anyway.
He knew the risks. And he knew,
for certain, that you loved him.
Remember joining that queue
outside the phone box on Pennsylvania Avenue –
to call the pound about that dog?
Only to find that every other person
in the line ahead of you had the same idea?
Here’s the marine varnish.
I hope it’s the right one.
It’s all they had.

(Irish Times, 16 November 2019)

Girl in Canary Yellow Dress


all sun, all lust –
your son turns to look at you and says,
‘Nothing lasts forever. Nothing,
Mum. Not even us.’
The younger one is trying to lift
a dead fish from the water.
The bridge casts a shadow
as you stoop to pick him up. 

(The Moth, Issue 38, Summer 2019)