Wrapped up somewhere in her couch, somewhere in her house, winter out inking the
curtains, peat in the hearth. The kind of close where you cannot really see, not with eyes.
We are limb-melt, half person, tree grown round bicycle. Heat, breath, slow. She takes
the gold loop, so thin and curved like a wrist, from her ear. The tiny clink of it against it,
announcing itself in the room. I watch. She holds it between us, in the hollow of air our
chests have let. “Can I….?” Looking at me. A hum-something in her eyes, like she
knows the next, like she always does. Just us and the metal between her finger and
thumb. I think of my skin, and myself in it. I let the breath out and am still, so still, when
she reaches my lobe with careful fingertips, and presses the flesh softly, tugs. Cool dart of
wire, its small bait swinging its own strange time. “Ow…” I whisper it, I make myself
again. The earring pierces my skin, pulling, until a small sting creeps to size. When she’s
done, a throb. It hangs on me, in me, ornament. Reflecting thing, all things in the room
absorbed. I have let her experiment conclude, I think. The jewel from her ear is now
resting in mine. I wonder how it takes to me? The blood beads and begins to drop. There
is a gold thing dancing beside my veins. She touches me softly, and I do not flinch. I feel
its shining weight, and she smiles. I unfurl to her, I can move again. The world returns to
Months later I am in front of bathroom glass with a needle in my fist. The skin is pink
and innocent. I insert the metal, through and around my own flesh, ignore the protest of
blood and tear, let it hang there, turning my head until it catches the light. It is
ostentation. When I leave the house they think me a boy but for the swinging glimmer.
Look at it. Look at it! People turn. The weight is small and unsteadying. I can feel the
knot of infection begin to swell. Later when I try to unstaple, the puncture oozes. So I
leave it in though it throbs, and fall asleep that night with a beating heart on my pillow.
I sit on the curbside an hour before emesis
I am eighteen.
It is just before dawn.
The world strobes before me,
Club. McDonald’s. Street.
The night is cold when I
Erupt the chords of Christ,
The seed, the fall, the net
And the twisting.
And as my belly pulls in sharply,
Out comes the sun,
A song, the putrid chorus for
Ireland’s new day.
In a watervodka bloodlet,
The night is oozing
And the choir of children
Are screaming at me to sing.
I ask nothing of God yet,
Only someone to hold my hair.
Seirce Mhac Conghail is a student of English and Irish at Trinity College Dublin. Their work has been published in Dodging the Rain, ODD Magazine, The Phare, and others. They are a current Young Writer Delegate for Dublin Book Festival.