• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
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Bar service

Beneath my finger nails,
covered in a tone of natural flesh
to hide the inky blotches
so I can serve the evening drinks
without offending customers
who’ll jostle on the other side,
my skin felt suffocated, tight.

My beard trimmed for the night
legs ready for the shift ahead
the float secured in its cloth bag
banded notes and coins for the till
the floor still sticky under foot —
by the new year I shall be
swimming in beer.

I remember it all so well —
the folky fingers in the ears
when Sule Skerry was
trotted out again and
everyone sang the great silkie
while the fire blazed up
and I began to breathe.


Bar service

We amble along the beach
flotsam strewn around
our breaths come easy now
the worries far away
breaking upon a distant shore
we reminisce together, marvelling,
the sea air fills our lungs
and we are old and free.