January’s winning poems
Suzanne is an Irish writer from Limerick city. She has been writing as a hobby since the age of eight and first began writing poetry in secondary school. Her work has been selected for various anthologies and independent poetry collections. Her hobbies include wandering around art museums, drinking large pots of coffee and cuddling cats.
Your hair is no longer mine to touch
Though the rumpled silver in it needs brushing back.
Your hands, lying open on your thighs, are my hands;
An extension, like the rest of you,
Of my own body —
Only thicker and stronger.
I can see in the slope of your shoulders that you need holding
Though nothing here is mine to hold
Your body rises familiar as my backyard
A place to nestle in the sun.
You are a home planet, two feet away,
Pulling like gravity.
The language of our bodies is a dying one.
Flesh meets flesh only in passing, to exchange
The briefest of words.
There are no conversations for our hands to make
And no debates—
Free speech repressed to fists—
Until there is a rabble in my blood,
Words foaming at fingertips.
Meanwhile, your secrets are kept safe,
In the tucks and folds of your skin.
The strings on our hearts hang down, untied,
Dangling like cats’ toys.
New Irish Writing, edited by Ciaran Carty and appearing in the Irish Independent on the last Saturday of each month, is open to writers who are Irish or resident in Ireland. Stories submitted should not exceed 2,000 words. Up to four poems may be submitted. There is no entry fee. Writers whose work is selected will receive €120 for fiction and €60 for poetry. You can email your entry, preferably as a Word document, to email@example.com. Please include your name, address and contact number, as well as a brief biographical paragraph. Only writers who have yet to publish their first book can be considered.