Once the taxi’s neon curve

had left me I started thinking

about violets:

     I have only

known them from their ghost,

the breath of a sugar-bracelet.


I remember

damp interconnection,

a season eaten away to its



Learning blooms


a rain-shower undoing itself

& I believe for a short while

that pirouettes

have a h in them,

like piranhas.


        I forget which year

we met & which year things

got formal:


        the months clack

together somewhere dark &

safe, toy planets ringed

in silver-mauve.

It happened where night meets glass:



we didn’t notice the wreckage, at first, until

it became our teeth, gathered as condensation

on the abrupt space of the windowsill.


This silence seemed so far from wind-whip,

waited in runnels the hue of dirty snowmelt.

I furled all my poems at the bed’s end, preparing.


That distance, between words and encroaching salt,

led me to sleep at first. I thought of an article I’d read:

excrement on Everest, gaudy shapes of oxygen tanks.


Things have a way of showing up later, straight

from the glacier’s mouth. Back to my writings.

I had put them in a very small building, did I say that?


It had the shuttered look of bad offices, prefab-like,

stood about four feet high near the wardrobe.

I could see it without my glasses, check on it


though the night if I needed to, stilling nose-tip

at the window. I woke at 5am to find it swallowed,

of course, no sopped remnant & no helplines open.


What would you do if your house was there burning,

and you could see the pinpricked departure of it all

from the sky? And nobody was awake? Embarrassing


how much I cared: this year has just taken and taken.

It strains the visual memory, making these lists,

watching the boughs outside glitch and resolve.

Alicia Byrne Keane is an IRC-funded final year PhD student at Trinity College Dublin. Alicia’s poetry has been published in The Moth, The Colorado Review, The Cardiff Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Banshee, Abridged, and the Honest Ulsterman; forthcoming work will be featured in The Scores. Alicia’s poem “surface audience” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize; the poem “Cloud / land arc” was nominated for the Orison Anthology