By Aoife Mannix
It was your star sign and it killed you.
There are easier ways to learn things you said.
Of course there are.
Sitting at my brother’s window looking out through the curtains.
Red with white clouds drifting down them.
I trace the patterns in the heavens. The animals wink at me.
I believed then that I was not alone.
That light could eat itself for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Suck the Milky Way through a straw.
You couldn’t get enough sugar.

He told me I was no good as a substitute mother.
The spaghetti sauce splashing on the table.
I knew he didn’t know how right he was.
I make the phone calls mechanically.
One rented home after another.
No room at the inn. No hospital beds.
The car window smashed.
He said he couldn’t understand breaking things for the fun of it.
But I could.
Is anger genetic?
A deep rich seam of lost fathers and black holes.

Opening the fridge and asking what there is to eat.
What is behind the wall at the end of the universe?
The great dinner party in the sky.
You’ll eat what’s on your plate.
The clock folding in on itself.
Cutting the pieces smaller and smaller.
Hidden in the brussels sprouts. The pointlessness of all this nutrition.
Wandering up and down the aisles to music with the words removed.
The elevator tinkle of lost space travellers.
A trip to the supermarket on the moon.

Can you tell this isn’t real meat?
The soya protein of another light year. Time frozen or canned.
Not allowed to leave the house without dinner inside you.
I ate the sky and it was delicious.
Popsicles in the heart of winter.
I forget their names now. The constellations I thought were edible.
Loneliness is just another hunger.
That you of all people should starve to death.
There are easier ways. Of course there are.


Aoife Mannix was born in Stockholm of Irish parents. She grew up in Dublin and New York, and currently lives in London. Her poetry is a bittersweet look at the chaos of life and love. She celebrates the confusion of the world we live in, finding humour and hope in the power of words shared.

Her poetry has been published in the anthologies Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry, In Our Own Words and Gargoyle as well as several magazines including Global Tapestry Journal, Inclement, Cadenza, The Affectionate Punch, Poetry Nottingham International, Voice & Verse, Breathe, Fan The Flames, The Black Rose, The New Writer, First Time, and in the e-zines Poetic Express and Snakeskin. Her poetry has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, London Live, and the BBC World Service. She is currently the Farrago London Slam! champion. In 1998 she was awarded first prize in the Dr Marten's New Writers Competition. Places she has performed include the Edinburgh Festival, the ICA, the Tabernacle, the Poetry Place, and the Battersea Arts Centre.


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