Liffey Swim

In my dream, the Blessington Street Basin
fills with the Liffey’s stout-­bottle waters,
but still the swimmers come, in droves,
on the stray sovereign of an Irish summer’s day.

The river courses through the city,
turning concrete roadways to canal banks
that shrug their shoulders into dark water;
a man rises, seal­-like, in his caul of silt, to wave.

At the sluice gate, where the river bends
out of sight between toppling buildings,
a black dog jumps, again and again, into the water.
And there, at the edge of vision, my parents,
ready to join the swimmers,
gesture their cheerful farewells.

– Jessica Traynor

Jessica Traynor

Jessica Traynor's first collection Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press) was nominated for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award. She was a 2014 recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary and 2013 Hennessy New Writer of the Year. In 2016, she was commissioned by the Irish Writers Centre and Ireland 2016 to be a part of 'A Poet's Rising'. Poems have recently appeared in Poetry Ireland Review's 'Rising Generation' issue, Agenda, the Cafe Review and have been broadcast on Sunday Miscellany.

Flash Fiction #2: Killing JB

On an afternoon in spring, I saw John Banville coming out of the Mark’s and Spenser’s on Liffey Street. I am a great admirer of his work. I followed him down the street. I didn’t do this with the intention of killing him. Not straight away, in any case. I planned to work up to that, having first allayed his suspicions by means of some literary conversation. He wasn’t carrying a bag. But he was carrying something. He walked quickly in the direction of the river. He wasn’t smaller in real life. This was real life; he was the same height as Bono. When I’d got closer to him ¬ outside the adventure sports shop – I saw that he was carrying a wedge of parmesan cheese. I have a great enthusiasm for this cheese. Banville had gone into M&S for parmesan, and that’s what he had come out with. He’d been single ¬minded in his errand, undistracted by marinated artichokes, say, or even prosciutto. He held the cheese now in his hand, the palm facing downwards, the way an american footballer might hold the ball.

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