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by Cormac Culkeen

Inquiring knocks still him

like a mouse in open grass

beneath a hawk’s shadow

shifting on thermals,

where cold lamp light  

gathers night damp rooms,

growing dust into 

his daily path.

Curtains latch lying windows,

folds of drawing fabric swing

watching aged moments

pass into never,

floormap layers of newspaper,

accretions marking past’s mould,

where brief conceit

did immerse worlds.

Slowly, another knock moves him

through his curt, ancient trail,

his listening chair,

his mumbling radio,

where infinity becomes a stifle

of small gestures glimpsed unseen,

a stained mug,

a kettle’s hiss.

Rheumy squints through glasses

bring him a sleeved arm,

some tuneless whistling

stills his pulse

movement muted to breath

seeing quieter figures shrink,

rain strums upon

fading steps.

Shadows melt in the panes

shuffle from its rivet gaze.

Recognising a stasis,

spokes of sunlight

drop through curtain depths,

seeds of light’s silence

angling for pause,

touch his hands.


Cormac Culkeen is a writer of poetry, fiction, short stories and nonfiction. He lives in Galway, Ireland, and has completed an MA in Writing at the University of Galway, after completing a BA in Creative Writing. His poetry has been published in Skylight 47, The Wild Word, Causeway, Apricot Press, Bindweed, Ropes Literary Journal and The Honest Ulsterman. His debut poetry collection, The Boy with the Radio, was recently published by Beir Bua Press in 2022.

by David McLoghlin

Usually the youngest among the ones 

who still have hyphens for death days

—maybe, finally a woman, or a name heavy 

with vowels—I’m represented by a single poem. 

So don’t think me ungrateful. Even though I wrote it 

myself, there’s a curt strangeness, rereading my bio, 

that leaves out my life: “work published in Shindig

Black Rhino and Coterie. Has lived in Rome 

and Antwerp. Now teaching Special Needs in Trim.” 

I know the crabby elder statesman anthologist 

has given me the nod to stand for this generation

I know speech after long silence; it is right 

and just, to be here. And after all the definite 

red brick edifice becoming the canon 

in the previous pages, there’s a tentativeness 

about my single poem: but something growing, 

nonetheless. Even though it might just 

be breath on the window.


David McLoghlin is a poet and writer of creative nonfiction. His books are Waiting For Saint Brendan and Other Poems and Santiago Sketches. CRASH CENTRE will be published by Salmon in May 2024. He teaches creative writing with Writers in Schools, and is a mentor with the National Mentoring Scheme.

by Kieran Fionn Murphy

You’d laugh and shake your head if I told you

that, in Cork, two doves kissed good morning

on a sunny wire over Dean Street,

but they did,

as a workman’s gloved hands pulled up

sheets on a building on South Main Street,

and a surge of cars jostled snouts

beside the courthouse steps.

An Airbus roared

across the Western Road, turned right above

the Mardyke, and made for a cloud

grazing Sunday’s Well,

and then, improbable, I heard him

warble, a blackbird call. I stopped, spotted him

up on Daly, Derham, Donnelly – Orpheus

of the eaves,

orange beak scissoring

the steely, dusty, concrete, shadowed scrim

of locked existence, defying


and taxis, singing beauty,

love, and loss. I paused, applauded,

laughing, then flew home to you.

We never once looked back.


Kieran Fionn Murphy grew up in NY and now lives in Dingle with his family, where he co-founded Murphys Ice Cream. He is currently pursuing an MA in creative writing at UCC and hasn’t yet mended the folly of his ways.

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