I see the dead light hang on the kettle’s brushed steel and boil boil boil tears refuse to come out. There is always fear he’d know about them. Engrams are dirty fingers smudged on the brushed silver of klatch. Little villages unto themselves. I marvel for embroidery of a virus to tap-out-delete memory process. Am I a worthy target for your riots? Am I a long-term licence of guilt? Am I another bottle bank to you? Know why I stay with him if it is really this bad? Why, I do not know. Maybe he’s good in bed. Maybe he’s attentive when the world deems me invisible. But today, my world woke up aggressive and I thought I could fix it all. I am intelligent enough to fix this. He has a lot of problems. It’s not his fault. He doesn’t have anyone else. No family. I collect all I can in knowing where window smashing can come from and I, I stand down the scrolling headlines in the deadlight of another kettle going boil boil boil. Finger smudges. Stand, head up, in the deadlight of morning. Quiet. Be very quiet. There is always fear he’d know and find out. Know the wet weakness of my tears on sheets. Last night another rough sex request and delight in respite shower dabbing at the swollen tenderness between my legs. I walk down to the dark lip of the pier when he goes out and put my hand on the red railing to support myself while I dip my toes into the clam of cold water coloured like a trout. The stone of the step underwater magnificent and magnifying. Hands plunge percolate the silk of water wash your face wash your face against sheer wonder at the magnifying magnificent effect of bodies under water. The clean effect of skin flew silk wanting to lap it up like a kitten that I’m not under duress in pure pleasure of wash your face and watch it going boil boil boil. Another morning. Finger smudges on the brushed steel and the water feels so soothing when I dip my fingertips under the stream of the tap. Crystalline and moon milk soothing. Pure pleasure. Pure rough pleasure, I know you. Hunting trap heart. Chuck the cigs from the ashtray into the bin and cover them up. He waves goodbye from behind the glass when I get there and I stand waiting and watched over. Late nights working are spent chatting-up a figure in his head and I lurk in the cesspool of cheating women past. Beside him in bed I electric-shock-spasm hot tears that salt the back of my ears while he pads the glands in my throat to check-out the sickness I’ve made up. It isn’t enough to simply believe anymore. It isn’t enough. Hunting trap heart and a cut of cool in the air between us. I am getting cold. Clinical is what he is calling me lately. Refrigerated. Friends say I am too warm. Handsprung autumn leaves burn the scene and I hum while I listen. Water drying, nylon clothes. The wet weakness of my strong will, residue on cheeks. Stand tall. Stand as tall as you can.
Elaine Cosgrove was born in Sligo, Ireland in 1985. Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly Magazine, The Penny Dreadful, The Bohemyth, New Binary Press, and the '2017 Fifty Best New British & Irish Poets' Anthology (Eyewear Publishing). Her work was longlisted for the 2016 London Magazine Poetry Prize. A debut collection of poetry is forthcoming from Dedalus Press. Elaine is based in Galway City.