Jessica Traynor

Pit Lullaby

When we turn off the light and I hold you close
my vision splinters, a mirror that catches
what light there is, throws it back as an untruth.

We are so close to each other here
that full faces never form – just a wisp of hair
settling on a cheek, an eyebrow like a capstone

sinking in a restless sea. Here I whisper to you
broken thoughts that settle somewhere on the tangle
of our limbs. Mog sat in the dark and thought dark thoughts,

I say, because it is the only thing in any of your books
I recognize as true – a beast, alone, afraid out of doors,
and far from home. I lie in the dark

and think dark thoughts while your feet push my thighs away.
I close my eyes, make a weapon of the weight of my bones.
There are so many hours between us and the morning.


Jessica Traynor is a poet, dramaturg and creative writing teacher. Her debut collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award. Her second collection, The Quick (Dedalus, 2018), was was an Irish Times poetry choice of 2019. Awards include the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary, the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year, and the 2011 Listowel Poetry Prize. She is the 2020 Writer in Residence in both Carlow and Sligo, and the recipient of the 2020 Banagher Public Art Commission. She is an inaugural Creative Fellow of UCD.

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