He was one of those people
those who talk
purely because they can
they are everywhere
especially, but not exclusively
at petrol stations
grocery shops
banks and beaches
and school gates
they love school gates

they search out your gaze
and out trot their greatest hits
that they are being humoured
oblivious in general
I wait in my car as long as I can
I make sure to look the other way
I sometimes hold my phone to my ear
it doesn’t matter
they hear footsteps
no matter how soft, how careful
a thousand yards away
and they appear
they surround
all teeth and small talk
viruses that speak

we waited for the school door to open
I heard about the upcoming vote
the new houses being built
his trip away
I found myself sending prayers up
and down
to whoever might be listening

with the turn of the door handle
they were answered
and he was drowned out
by a giggling stream of escaping children
I found smiles in the eyes of my daughter as he said
“Isn’t it amazing to think that you made her? “
for the first time I looked at him
while knowing the opposite to be true.

The Red Boy

I watched a boy die
a boy my own age
chasing a ball into the road
as I had done, ten thousand times over

I read somewhere
that we are 60% water
from what I saw
that is not true

it was glistening
red and roaming
under the setting sun

I have recurring dreams
of an office, just an office
where I went, willingly
knowing the damage that I was doing

just an office, nondescript
in a building, nondescript
in a city, nondescript

knowing the damage that I was doing

to myself
to my bones and my eyes and my stomach and my soul
if we have one

even at the time I knew
that there was a hole in my pocket
with pieces of myself
falling through and

I should look forward
I know that
and I do
but, the dreams

and when I wake with a shiver
I think of that boy
when I wake with a shiver
he is born again

Steve Denehan @SteverinoD lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. Publication credits include The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, The Phoenix, Into the Void, The Opiate, The Hungry Chimera, Ink in Thirds, Crack The Spine and The Cape Rock.  He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best New Poet and his chapbook, “Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong” is available from Fowlpox Press. Website: denehan.wixsite.com/website

Banner Image “Gauntlet Inside Petals” by Robert Frede Kenter @frede_kenter