Brian Kirk


Brian Kirk

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( i.m. Gerry Flanagan)

There is nothing more to say but still we talk,

as if the silence is a trapdoor into another world,

letting the dead come back to haunt us. He lives on,

but only as an idea in our minds and we explain away

his death although we know it is beyond explaining.

The crude fact of how he died is like a light

that can’t be quenched. Although we didn’t find him, 

the image of his hanging shadow darkens our thoughts.

We can no longer picture him as he was, but we must see him

joyless, lifeless as a doll with empty eyes gazing into a future

he’ll never meet. Our experience of the stench of death is

limited to the contents of the compost bin at home, we dig it

into the soil in Spring, renewing the face of the earth.  

It’s easy to believe the idea of new growth when you smell

the sap rising, but fresh cut grass from weekend lawns

soon decays; it doesn’t live again, it’s new grass every time.

A Halloween false face mounted on a horizontal suit; that’s how

he looks to us. We can’t touch him, afraid there will be nothing

under his jacket sleeve; his scarecrow self is out of reach.

I watch a girl lean across the coffin and let her red lips

brush his quickly. I want to tell her he’s not there.

Who does she think she’s kissing? What does she taste on him?

The chemicals they use to make him fit for viewing or the vestiges

of misspent youth; cigarettes and alcohol, and fish and chips?

Brian Kirk

Brian Kirk is an award winning poet and short story writer from Dublin. He was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2014 and 2015. His first poetry collection After The Fall is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2017. His novel for 9 -12 year olds The Rising Son was published in December 2015. He is a member of the Hibernian Writers Group and he blogs at

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