Seven-Years-Old; The Day I Learned...; Boy A and Boy B; Out Of the Fire; Monsters by Steve Denehan


Seven-Years-Old

Today was the day that she said

Daddy, you won’t know the age that I die at.

we looked at each other for a while

Daddy, don’t you have anything to say?


I held out my hand

she took it

I squeezed

she squeezed back

I smiled

she smiled


I didn’t have anything to say


The Day I Learned that I Was Losing My Sight

For Susan


Just like that, she told me

and besides the hot brick in my stomach

I felt the same


I knew it was coming of course

it had to, really

life had been too good


the horizon had been too blue

too smooth

too pure


it had been far, so far away, the sun

now, it was coming closer

soon, would be within reach


I know that it will burn

that my reflex will be to turn, to run

but I must swallow that down, for them


with clenched fists I will lean forward

scream into the flames until my throat is burning

stand, keep standing, tall as I can


I feel the same

but I am different, I am different now

already there is ash behind my eyes


Boy A and Boy B

It used to be that Boy A would offer to take you dancing

on dizzy Dublin nights

he would collect you in his father’s car

wearing his father’s suit

his hands clinging to the steering wheel

where they would not be seen to shake


Boy B, slightly shyer, would offer to take you to the cinema

the Savoy, still new and decadent

hushed voices and the swish of velvet

as the curtains parted and you stepped through

perhaps, if he was feeling brave, he would offer to link you home

while wondering if you could feel

the tremble of his arm


now Boy A takes you into darkness syrup thick and filled

with dead grasshoppers and dead birds and dead everything

and Boy B lets him


Out of the Fire

Everybody knows her

or one of her

someone capable of finding the cloud

in every silver lining


she is a fly

a perpetual annoyance

offering nothing

but dour buzzing


I decide to fry her up

not for me of course

but for our cat

who will eat anything


I imagine brushing her with butter

garnishing with salt

lying her in the pan

hearing her sizzle


then I realise

no matter how lightly I fry

no matter how pure the oil

she will remain


too bitter and too tough

too salty and too sour

and frankly

the cat deserves better


Monsters

As a boy I had a notebook

it had an orange cover

I drew monsters in it

monsters on every page

until it was full

I thought that they were scary

I had no idea