You beg like a Bible verse: taut, memorable, ghost-written. He circles you like a Catherine wheel: you’re the pin, fixed to a flammable fence, and he’s the firework, sputter-ready.
You, Walter, have steady, cameraman hands. Cameraperson. Inclusive language is generational, a gap you misunderstand, or miss, or denigrate, the way modern gods being men isn’t a problem. For you.
His suit smooth like a wipe-clean-able tablecloth, you ask, “Who will you have without me?” You forget how fast you replaced Beta with VHS, Matt Damon with Ben Affleck, and back again.
Once, he invited you into his house, said, “Let’s break bread now,” and you remembered your tongue at the alter, a finger delivering bread, and an endorphin urge, pudding thick, to Velociraptor snap at Father Mike’s fingers.
Lapsed Catholic, you wait for this man to decide. He’s your boss. Important like the Commonwealth, in history. There’s no redemption, only more, a pre-written prescription you weekly forget to pick up.
For you, Walter, infinity’s a gas meter counter spinning into the next billing cycle.
(Originally published on FlashFlood Journal, June 22nd 2013 & referenced on Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s blog Women Rule Writer, 31st July 2013)

Teach Me

“I think a lot about god’s plan,” she says, “who he brings together and who he plans decimation for. It’s not something we prefigure – we don’t have the intuition of an angel or a Christian Union President or a Bible writer. We’re bet-placers, with money down on our favourite TV characters dying before season’s up, to distract us from the fact the real life people we love will be dead soon. Might be. Could. But we’ve not got money on that because we’ve not got money and we don’t want to know. But what I would know, what I’d want to, is how we took separate routes on a gameboard with only one track. It almost disproves any fate or factual, prefiguration or plan, don’t you think?”

But Jack doesn’t.


The Dentist

I’ve ignored every toothache I’ve had and every boyfriend telling me to find dentists, get doctors, gets told that I’ll fix myself and I carry on fixing, Googling, standing in the Health section in bookshops as long as it takes: until someone tells me to buy it. Never.

Soon, my sister will qualify and every question, lump, scratch, scar, eye flash or floater, will be hers to answer, dissect, know.

I used to wait for saviours, named in songs and words written by men or god-given depending on the historical accuracy of the people teaching or talking or sprawling. Now, I am my own. And when I buckle, when the pain’s a bone burner, I call in contacts of contacts of mine, never select anyone randomly, because that would add weight to serendipity, fatalism, creationism, love.

This won’t be the first time I’ve sipped blood, smelled blood, died.


I’m implicit, implicated, undeniably entwined, constantly erroneously eroded.

I watch your boat like you’re Pacey and this is Dawson’s Creek and I’m too late to run, and even if I did, your impulses aren’t thick, your eyes quick. The last time you made a decision was 2002, and even then it was only which box set to buy; VHS was an option.

I’ve made unconventional choices but not unconventional enough. I won’t wear a rosary when it’s fashionable to in case the implications are true even though I don’t think they are now. I’m hard-wired with a certainty there’s a man on the roof surveilling me, checking I don’t expose myself in public, that I’m fucking who I should which is nobody because I’m not married and even then it’s pretty questionable and Bible study’s more important. “Read it in a year,” they said.

It’s simple what I want. The undoing of shirts. Zips stopping to work. Incantation. The promise of guilt free spirituality, which is not in support of wrong doing, but evidence of the fact morality’s standalone, slipping, ebbed.

If I knew what was good for me, I’d read. And the Bible would say stop what you’re doing, listen when a man’s talking, feed periods to the wolves and die in the desert if you’re pure and deny the devil or, at least, Richard Dawkins.


A Block of Salt

There will come a time when the only man left is your best friend’s boyfriend and it’s not that you have an attachment, really, except in transference, in that kissing him is kissing her, knowing her leg contours in more detail than sleepovers allow for.

He says, “I’ll leave her for you,” and you say, “No,” and he repeats his phrase until he’s in your mouth, a part of your day, the only text you pay attention to. Jack was not solid: you were two hands lingering on ketchup bottles, salt shakers, meeting illicitly for coffee (is there any other kind of coffee you wonder?) but now you’re back in the same city, the lie is thicker like cream when you take a fork to it, or water with gravy granules in.

And the moment it happened is a well-cut trailer in your head for a film you joked you’d never see. He comes to you in dreams at 8.56, minutes before you’re meant to wake, saying, “I screwed her and I kissed you and I understand your body better than you do and have you considered fate, that Plato was right, we’re halves, our navels are scars the other left? What if she’s Megan Fox and you’re Rosie Huntington-Whiteley? ”

Your only crime is watching him leave after he’s left, and you get Lot’s wife looking back, when memory’s all that anchors you and every shitty thing that you did, or someone did, doesn’t mean you want to see it all burn. Doesn’t mean you won’t try save it.

Baby Teeth

No-one will believe you. You’ll be semi-prepared for dismissals, mockings. You’ll wish you didn’t know what you know, see what you see, but the only perspective you can trust is yours. Everyone else is swaying.

You’ll reason but people are the TV on standby, exhausting energy but essentially useless, an untapped entity, eating the resources that could keep you alive for months.

They say the world is darker now and when you read the books in the Bible that detail the end times you imagined more burning, a lack of trust, the running out of face cream. Not all predictions are true. The papers were right about Titanic, The Artist, The Lord of the Rings sweeping the board, but how the hours play out when the movie making stops is a guess for someone else, a fortune teller in training, the last left, who we can default to. A star being made.

You’ll try not to picture the going. You’ll pace fields and streets and floorboards like life is still 2004, 2006. You’ll be asked to peel vegetables. You’ll treat every woman like your daughter, as if imitation is a reincarnation, prolonging. But we’re talking days, hours, and how long they last without you is trivial.

You didn’t pick a side, didn’t have to. People prefer not to know at the end of it. I still don’t know how Lost ends.