Mermaid

In matching swimming costumes

with go-faster frills, we lap the pool  —

Mum waves at us from the sun bed.

Her husband takes a loop of the lobby,

tells the barman his life story —

helps an old lady with her bags.

Mum doesn’t like getting her hair wet,

Mum points out the towel boy

with the twinkling eyes.

Someone brings chocolate eclairs

Mum shakes her head: we say,

but Mum, they’re your favourite!

Mum doesn’t like the building work

or loud families with rude children.

Mum likes our room,

         it has a hairdryer,

         an iron,

         a safe.

I’m plastered in a football strip trying to join the stag.

I’m hanging off the banister singing something in Irish.

I’m sick in all the women’s bags.

The other travellers stare when I fall.

My teeth shatter on marble —

Mum says, oh you silly old thing —

I wear sequins to dinner —

Mum embroiders holiday ruined

into the table cloth with her eyes.

There’s a tiny woman in the safe upstairs

I tell Mum I like the towel boy’s soft hair,

his twinkling eyes —I’m so hungover

my eyes fall out

two scallops in some shells —

Scampi Fries

(published in Trinity College’s Icarus Magazine)

I’ve given up sleeping with strangers — so now you know when I’m chatting up the bar staff — I’m not taking any of them home — not a single one — so if I do I’ll be utterly ashamed of myself because my new mattress hasn’t been touched by anyone — so when Sam or Tess or Marly are frantically swiping another stranger with a caption saying they’re tall with hobbies and hair — I’ll turn to look at the crisps — know with all my heart the ones I’ll pick — I’ll pretend I’m married to the green limes as the barmaid pulls them from their cardboard. I’ll imagine the salt on my lips, licking each finger until my nose twitches and my eyes water.