The Bird

And then a bird
flew into the hall
the way my brother,
only a toddler, once
wandered through
our open gate,
down the lane to
what he thought
was freedom.

In prison or escaped,
according to your
point of view,
then the bird
had nothing to do
but fly. How he flew.
He swung and arced
as a pilot might,
wrote letters on sky
as all the while we
observed his flight,
read the words
he left behind,

his warning of
a time to wait
when rest would
wing its way,
a trail of cloud
still scrawling out,
it’s best to fly a space
if it’s too late
to circle back.


Words like water
fill my mouth
so when I try to
take a breath they
burst into pockets
of wasted air that
make no sense
I watch like speech
bubble flares as they
pop then fade into
our shared distance.

I close my mouth to
try again, knowing
my time has been,
is gone, that the
right moment belongs
to some other indistinct
dimension, the gap
to which I cannot cross

and though I’ll thrash
and flail, with each splash
I’ll sink further down;
beneath the weight of
things unsaid, I know
I’ll drown. It’s knowing
that kills me every time,
knowing that takes each
last breath from me
and this last one
is death.

Breathe (I Remember)

How our silence swelled
into a bubble I could’ve
stayed forever in as
the noise of life
went on outside,
everything lost
in your glow,

as the sense of
what you knew but
didn’t realise yet
set you ablaze
and I basked in the
warmth you gave away,
joyous just to be

and breathe,
only a little scared
I might do something
to disturb all the bits
and pieces of universe
that had conspired
to make ‘us’;

how if I could choose
from all the moments
I’ve lived to this,
I would pick that
to live again,
die happily at
its end.


I can never out-run
my thoughts. They
wait so patiently

at the start line,
the gun still smoking
out its parting breath,

one for which
I don’t ever find
a fresh response

to carry with me
like a flag, so
I run just

one more lap
then let them
take me home.

It’s what I get
for living my life
in circles.

Neil Slevin

Neil Slevin is a writer from the West of Ireland. He holds an MA in Writing from NUI Galway and is pursuing a writing-based career.

Neil’s poetry has been published by The Galway Review and Boyne Berries, as well as numerous international journals, including Scarlet Leaf Review and Artificium: The Journal. His flash fiction appeared in The Incubator.

He co-edits Dodging The Rain.

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