The guy at the till says
can’t put that back love,
it’s been touched
and dumb I drop the fork
in the bin think

o love we’ve all
been touched soiled
some of us have pushed

whole humans out
crunching through
in a gush of blood shit

& some have been hit
stabbed slit with pint glasses
surgeon’s scalpels

bones cracked with the butt
of a blade by butchers
preparing a feed of marrow
for hungry guests

we have touched ourselves
our screens
each other on screens

till bacteria trails
we’ve traced
grow verdant
and when you claw

voluptuous loam
allow worms leeches
slither your arms

you’ll find beneath it all
that fucking pristine
plastic fork
outlasting all our snot & puke & tears

Jessica Traynor was born in Dublin in 1984 and is a poet, essayist and librettist. Her debut collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award and in 2016 was named one of the best poetry debuts of the past five years on Her second collection, The Quick, was a 2019 Irish Times poetry choice. A Place of Pointed Stones, a pamphlet commissioned by Offaly County Council, was published by The Salvage Press in 2021.