Poems: Alicia Byrne Keane

An extremely close up image of wisps of smoke

Blood, emeralds, bears

Standing in your hallway my blood turned sharp, full of tiny conical things
the feet of the spider stippling the inside of the plastic champagne flute.
That bath really was spacious, a place meant for eating grapes in, rehearsing
plays. All I want to do is listen to Black Midi and walk laps of town all day.

When the doctor takes my blood I rarely feel emptied, more like a space has
opened for more fear to rush in. The wait is jagged, faceted, reflective in more
than one sense of the word, clear in places, deep in places, seeming to contain
a watery silence, dense and cold in reality, immutable, bookended by Sundays,

set wetly in metal. I think of disappearing acres, a lace of branches alight, curled
shapes of koalas. A dimness thickens things, I can’t really imagine it, and feel
ashamed. I need to stop favouring the localized apocalypse, the call from the
unknown number, the tactful reminder from the hospital clinic. The bottle of

wine that fell from my bag in the dark of the forest looked like blood and
emeralds. A sudden mosaic. I wanted to hibernate, become sea glass, wake
smoothly, none of this sickness, none of these dreams where people die and un-
die, none of these days where I study the tarmac, packed to itself like cells.


Smoke, velvet

The in-between feeling is soft today, twisting,
seems located in a throat, or like it could make

needle-thin trails above chimneys in the distance
around the low brown shape of the quarry as seen

from the window of my childhood room, like
it could curl from the palms of hands in winter,

billow from horses’ nostrils. The feeling seems
like it could stretch across a ribcage, or block out

all the light in a room, hiding catastrophes in its
rich folds, a feeling you could sink into, covered

all over with small protrusions, creepy up close
like the wavering threads at the back of an eye.

Death, ice   My jacket is black faux-fur and missing its last button In it I feel like death but aesthetic, it’s been such a mild winter  surfaces missing their jolt, their glitter.       All around the city donuts are waiting behind glass in the dark. He grabbed my arm twice  half-jokingly, Years ago, the cycle path by the canal, a winter sunset in decaying Eyeshadow colours.    I wouldn’t hold hands, and neither of us could figure out why. That winter I became obsessed with the tiny bumps  Like crystals beneath my skin, apparently they can be smoothed Away with rose water, or is it apple cider vinegar, doesn’t matter  Neither would  Slow the grey hairs (a separate issue) in their quest to spiral and  multiply. Fair fucks to them.

Alicia Byrne Keane is a PhD student from Dublin, Ireland. Alicia has a first class honours degree in English Literature and French from Trinity College Dublin and a MSt. in English Literature 1900-Present from Oxford University, and is currently working on an Irish Research Council-funded PhD study of ‘vagueness’ and translation in the work of Samuel Beckett and Haruki Murakami, at TCD. Alicia's poems and short fiction have previously been published in The Moth, Entropy Magazine, Impossible Archetype, Poethead, College Green, and the [PANK] blog, among others. 

The titles of these poems are taken from this article by Claire-Louise Bennett on writing her novel, Pond.

Image via Flickr


Submit a comment