Deirdre McClay

Watching fire on TV

Deirdre McClay

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He plays with fire while I’m distracted.

Switches it on.

It repeats,

I think.

Hard to know.

Do real flames repeat?

There’s no blaze

or quiet smoulder.

Just perky combustion -

audio of hiss and crack

over creamy flaming.

TV without TV.

Fire sans fire.

No smell or warmth, 

no harm, or point – sort of.

‘Is it cartoon fire?’

                 ‘You mean, C.G.I. fire, Mum. How old are you?’


Too old for ghost fires,

I watch him leave.

He’s laughing back at me. 

Deirdre McClay

Deirdre McClay has published fiction widely including in The Irish Times, Sunday Tribune, Crannog, Wordlegs, The Weary Blues, Number Eleven, and The Incubator. She was nominated for a Hennessy First Fiction Award in 2005, and has been listed and placed in competitions including The Lonely Voice, Doire Press International Fiction Chapbook, From the Well Cork Library, and The Over the Edge New Writer of the Year. She is a member of the organising team of North West Words which runs a monthly reading event in Letterkenny, and she blogs with the writing group Garden Room Writers at