[Alicia Byrne Keane]
Real Together I made the mistake of telling someone once They always seemed real together: the statement came out long and narrow, took meaning only once in flight, in the space between mouth and ear. God, I felt horrible then, like I’d thrown a bracelet into a bin by accident. I found the velvet top today, decanting everything out of the laundry basket. Lifted it out by its straps it’s getting old, serrated with rips around its plunging edge as if (I don’t know why I think this) bitten by a rat, I bought it with a H&M voucher my aunt gave me two years ago, I wore it on the kind of evenings that become a network of questions, translucent. (Did your friend know in what connection I was there, in her front room, while they played Childish Gambino from a blue- lit TV screen, and did she see when you put your hand on my knee?) The thing, the garment, is made of lilac crushed velvet that looks like the surface of the Liffey when you’re really sad, the glass of buildings in summer. Its straps are oddly tubular, unmovable, they cut into the slopes of flesh between shoulder and collarbone if you’re sitting on a couch and you wiggle around at all. At the time girls wore tops like this hung deliberately-awkwardly over black turtlenecks or long sleeved white t-shirts, I wanted to arm myself with layers: match the complexity of the situation sure, let’s go with that, but I guess we never could have been real, together. I am Carrying bags of almonds around with me Shifting in my seat in grey-painted tearooms Doing the Dublin Bus survey and looking around before ticking the nonbinary box Dodging fans coming back from a match on O’Connell Street Trying to get on everywhere’s wifi (hence the surveys) and Sneakily thinking to each new acquaintance, why are you still in Dublin tho what thing are you doing to afford this The malaise, the malaise of the last few days, stuff isn’t making me feel better at all Like going to see a film I’d told friends about ages ago When I briefly felt good or had money (1) briefly felt good and (2) briefly had money But the primary-coloured waterproof cushion seats in the Lighthouse Cinema Are like something from a playground Like I’m a huge big child And the cakes they sell lined up all look like jeweled stones or lumps of paint No I don’t know about the new place that’s opened. I once saw a guy slide down The street on one of those segways without a central column that just looks like a Singular improbable wheel. This guy just took up his wheel at a glassy juncture And sidled in a door I hadn’t seen. Suddenly in from the street via this mirror-wall That had boasted no visible entrance just moments before.
Alicia Byrne Keane is a PhD student from Dublin, Ireland, working on an Irish Research Council-funded PhD study that problematizes ‘vagueness’ and the ethics of translation in the work of Samuel Beckett and Haruki Murakami, at Trinity College Dublin. Alicia’s poems have appeared in The Moth, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Impossible Archetype, Abridged, The Honest Ulsterman, and Entropy.