Question & Answer 1 – Niall Bourke

Question 1

I spent a childhood in the clutches of
the Flammarion engraving, a conspiracy
held together by twine and my mother’s
refusal to look through the firmament.

There were no tales of terrestrial spheres
spread along the brekafast table, alongside
the darling black coffee, the toast, the broken
eyelids. Lucretius ran supreme, even as

the weight of our bodies dragged us to infinite,
to the centre of hypocrisy. I followed Magellan
into the street, sat cross-legged amongst
the car crashes on the triangle. I had found

the sphere and rode it out, but how can you
escape the clutches of memory? The broken clock
in the corner of the room? I am lost again
but this time I have chosen no directions.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

He got the scars, the story went,
when his mother (not paid the rent)
went out drinking for the night
and forgot she left the hob alight.

His milk, simmering in the pan,
abseiled upward, overran the edge.
John-Joe, hearing blackening hisses,
totters in. Reaches. Misses.

Reaches up again. The milk rains down
in spears, melting off both his ears.
After lunch we’d pick our sticks,
thick, hard, and then chase John-Joe

round the yard, singing (thicker, harder still)
John-Joe, John-Joe, Mam’s Dis-Grace
with just one arm
                                  and half your face.

– Niall Bourke