FIG

There is a place
in you
that needs a name
but you’re an absolute beginner
at naming things.
Centred in this pathos, I’ve never known

whether to create stillness or bitter passion.
In this, there is a sacrifice,
something to see through to the end. 

The openness I sometimes extract
can break me down.
Is it better
to find a way to say it?
Would it be better to hang for it 

or to forget
how the fig is fertilized? 
In its sweetness,
to forget
the distaste of undermining friendship.
I have stretched myself into the past. 

I have stretched my body
to see the places it could end.
Vein bubbles
from where it started,
wet bloodgasps; 
sorry smear of a poem 

they write your name next to.
History repeats, all that’s left;
neutrality at the cost of
a better passion,
and the count of
how many ribs you have and how many you’ve lost. 

I abuse my fingers
and still expect them to carry me through.
There’s always a way
to see trauma as something to crawl into. 

 

MINTMOUTH

thought i could move you by handfuls
could sweep into you somehow
this mountain i despise
to share could slip you into
a feeling like mine air thin
weaker at height 

safe for me is to defer
i sit statue and deny
what nobody knows should feel
like inhale
mintmouth— 
curves time in a way 

once we talked romance
told how to do it wrong
i took that on board
carve a kiss to thorn my tongue
any touch to burn
deeper than i can heal 

 

LIFE DRAWING

Winter dressed her
in shades of too tall and not
enough shelter. 

From here you can’t quite tell
which layer is on the surface. 

From here
you’d think the lake
could be as dark to the end, 
to the bottom grit and sacrifice
and there again; her.

— 

He felt too tight in his skin,
he felt it burned
all along the edges
of the mothmarked t-shirt
he wore like tradition. 

Maybe the summer asked too much.
Still sungripped,
he swallows a wasp in his throat;
the shape of it like the names
boys choose for themselves. 

Vowelheavy, round
on the tongue
like communion bread. 
He gives his name each time
like a touch on the neck,
the cheek; too close
for a stranger. 

It’s too much to give unasked.
Even now, he can only
see a halflife ahead, 
as far as the streetlights reach. 
As far as they spin back
like so many dropped petals
on the water. 


NINA O’DONOVAN is a twenty year old poet from Limerick City, Ireland. She is involved with the Writer’s Society in Mary Immaculate College, where she studies English and Philosophy, as well as the monthly poetry event Stanzas: An Evening of Words. Her work has previously been published in the Stanzas Year One Anthology, The Limerick Magazine, and the LGBT anthology It’s a Queer City All the Same