Take Heart In this special issue the art and literary communities in Ireland show solidarity with people who have been sexually assaulted, and for those whom the system is failing. All the stunning art work here (and much more!) will be on display and available to purchase at Take Heart Pop Up, all proceeds towards Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Signed first editions by many of the authors will also be available, alongside the anthology The Broken Spiral from which some stories are selected. Please join us and support this event, and if you can't make it, please consider donating whatever you can. We say YES to consent.

Female Silence: 9 Types by Doireann Ní Ghríofa In the eyes of another: Stern. Taciturn. Bitter. Firm. Beyond a window, a face, sink-blurred. She rubs spoons underwater, mouth downturned. A teenager grits her teeth when a stranger sneers: Cheer up love, give us a grin. Tongueless, the laundress draws silence from steam, hauling the wordless heft of scald, scrape, deformity. Examined by soldiers, she won’t speak. Interrogated by more, her curls twist in a stranger’s fist. White, white, her lips clench so tight, until shears give her hair flight. A century of silence, in which little changes. Her granddaughter’s words will be swallowed, still, unspilled. Inheritance: each female … Continued Read more

Penance by Annemarie Ní Churreáin for a girl in trouble 1951     ‘Shame’. Use this word when you speak of love.   A man of cloth will come. Your new home is among brides.   Deny the child inside you is the child you dream at night   and when they cut short your hair, watch the cuts fall   like the soft fur of an animal held still by threat.   Find a pale rose climbing a wall and consider yourself   smaller now, than even a thorn.   In your starched uniform, step into a nameless stream. Feel the coldness between your … Continued Read more

You Cannot Tell Me by Dimitra Xidous We’re all curious about what might hurt us. — Federico García Lorca   You cannot tell me love is a cockroach if you haven’t seen it run across the floor   or convince me that freedom is a dove if you haven’t seen it fly past your window.     You cannot tell me sadness is a lamb if you haven’t seen it hanging in the slaughterhouse   or make me believe that forgiveness is a fish if you haven’t seen it swim like a ribbon in water.     You cannot tell me what I already know.   Love … Continued Read more

All Bones by Mia Gallagher Dark. Sweaty. Bass pounding. Bodies heaving. Overhead arched windows, looking out onto black. In the centre of the dancefloor Neil knelt down, seeing a thousand stars humming a song of eternity. He was out of his face on acid. She was in the corner, moving like some crazy disjointed mannequin. Her shaved head glowed sick green in the bad disco lights. She was all bones. The light changed green to blue to red to white, turning her from sea-creature to madonna to devil to skeleton. The thought made it happen. Her eyes stared at him, empty black holes. She began … Continued Read more

Counting Bridges by Sinéad Gleeson 417 post-boxes. 341 hotels (three-star and above). 28 banks. 16 playgrounds. 3 cathedrals. He works his way through from the highest number (860 – streetlights) to the lowest (1 – river). When the nights are too cold to sleep he opts for alphabetical, flying over the streets in his head.   A to Z   (Abbey Theatre to Zoological Gardens).   Sleep is elusive, impossible, but all energy is needed for the days of wandering. Pinballing around the city, waiting to be moved on. The sheer brain-numbing fucksakeness of it. Being kinetic in a city isn’t as easy as it … Continued Read more

The Letter by R.M. Clarke The man in the other car had been a priest. The word was he’d taken a drink before he got behind the wheel and the investigation after proved the word to be true. But it was the cigarette that had caused him to swerve. He’d thrown it out the window once it dragged but the wind had pushed it back. Then the cigarette took on the habit, set fire to it at the lap. It was then he had drifted across the line and into my father’s car headlong and pushed him off the mountain road. It was decided after … Continued Read more

Going Dutch by Seanín Hughes I cut my teeth on you; let enamel tear through the pink tissue of adolescence. I bared my legs, but bent them inward, dressed them in angles in case   you found them too soft, too fleshy.   I kept my hair down so subtle shadows fell where cheekbones might be, stolen symmetry, in case   you realised I wasn’t pretty enough.   We played pool. I never won. I never cared. We ate hot, salty chips on the way home; you paid your way and I paid mine.   I never needed to wear my coat, until   the … Continued Read more

Starlight by Alice Kinsella   In late summer almost winter they’d lock the cows up for a day to take away their young.   I’d sit up sometimes even then, whispering your name into the stars, the lowing of mothers hanging heavy late into the night.   They did not know that what they were calling was already dead.     Read more

Tuam by Amanda Bell Once more we are called upon To lay our wafers on the body politic,   take them one by one, place them on our tongues and absorb the failings of the state, digest the blind-eyes turned.   All this we do, in silence, and remembrance of you.     Read more

The First Time by Claire Hennessy   The first time you ever think about dying, really think about it, you’re sitting in history class learning about the French Revolution. Ms Keating, your teacher, is trying to get everyone excited by giving them the gory details – even as Louisa beside you has her this-is-so-totally-gross face on, the same expression she regularly adopts in science class and when you dare offer an opinion on anything ever – and you listen to what it was like when they started guillotining people. There’s a trashy Sweet Valleybook you have somewhere, part of an older cousin’s collection you inherited, that … Continued Read more

The Cold God of Bad Luck by Colin Barrett   Because all humans are imperfect, even the most consumingly selfish person is only imperfectly so. Lorna Dawes’consuming selfishness was her defining – at times it felt like her only – feature, but there were those periods when her selfishness seemed to exhaust itself and lapse into a kind of dormancy. It was in such periods that Lorna found herself susceptible to the plight of others. And who, exactly, were the others? Oh, all of them, that sprawling mass of humanity, eight billion or so of the suckers, dozens of whom she could count as personal acquaintances, or better. This … Continued Read more

Alternative Truth by Elaine Feeney post truth truth after dinner pre truth alternative truth truth without fact respect the truth there’ll be truth in my house truth victim truth orphan do you know the truth tell the truth canon law truth my truth is there any truth to be had chicken soup for the soul truth the winner’s truth the undeniable truth the truth of my life the second truth the  biblical  truth check  your  sources  truth cursed  relic truth medical diagnosis truth truth before bed truth in the  morning  child’s  truth delusional  truth upsetting  the fuck  out  of  everyone  truth car  crash  two  tales  both  true truth I swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth the skirt was short truth consent truth we’ll be serving truth any minute now in the parlor the kind truth delivering  truth the  truth of  the  rabbi  the  sun worship  truth the  naked  truth the  dealer’s  truth gut wrenching truth the coma truth the truth in your dreams colonial truth the truth of my tale delete the truth mute truth define  truth write  the  truth down  braille  truth moral truth stone raving mad truth water truth organic truth one  hundred  per  cent  sustainable  truth global warming  truth punched  in  the  face  truth white  collar truth any tribunal’s truth tracker mortgage truth I have your  best  interests  at  heart  truth there  is  no  heart  beat truth there  is  brain  activity  truth life  saving  truth the water is deep truth lock the doors truth college campus truth upsetting  the  fuck  out  of  everyone  with  no  filter truth sworn  to  secrecy  truth friendly  fire  truth the truth of language truth spy truth sly truth deniable truth   after Sarah Clancy    Read more

The Good Room by Karen J McDonnell Where were the other children? Way down the garden, or clambering over the leopard-print seats in the Morris Minor?   You were in the front room, the parlour, the sitting room, the good room. His waistcoat facing you.   There must have been mention of a penny bar over on the mantelpiece, because you swung your head back   when you heard her at the door. Perhaps it was her tone, like the ice cubes she put in the Saturday glass of Pak orange,   or was it the way she spoke about you in the third person when she … Continued Read more

All the Houses I Have Lived in by Lillian Alford Patterson (Excerpt) Three months after his death the tail end of my car was pulled up to Melissa’s house. The porch was littered with boxes, poorly packed; books and photographs overflowed from them. I insisted on taking them all, in part as an anchor to ground myself with, in part because I feared my stepmother would throw them away or donate them to charity. It was midmorning, late August in Mississippi, hot and oppressive. Sweat poured down my neck, my back, and into my shorts. The moisture created a distinct line, the shape of my spine. My stepmother reminded me to … Continued Read more

What you don’t know by Fiona O'Rourke Of course, the dead man turns up again, his scraggly head looming in the rear view, when all Jay wants is silence, not twenty fuckin questions. Sat there, eyelids at half mast, all cat like and dreamy. Reckons he is Jay’s Da and has a scrawny frame, true enough, and a long nose. Seeing him in daylight, Jay would be hard pressed to deny the shared blood but it’s too late, twenty-three years too late, the Da is dead, what use is he? Jay clenches his teeth on thoughts that could make him roar and crash the car for pure … Continued Read more

Medusa by Angela T. Carr     In Ovid’s telling of the legend, the maiden Medusa, served in the Temple of Athena and was raped by the sea god, Poseidon. Athena transformed her into the Gorgon of myth, as punishment for this transgression.     After the attack, I beat myself black and blue with evidence of my own stupidity.   Did I speak the wrong word? Or the right one? The taunt of a colour, a scent, a smile,   the day, the time, the light – each tumble like dice toward a blinkered destiny.   Guilt and shame circle my thoughts, the curl … Continued Read more

Resolution by Stephanie Conn   It is not okay to grab me in the narrow hall, or press my back against the chipped vinyl to shove your dripping tongue into my mouth.   Don’t mix talk of cheese, forgotten in the fridge, with whispered insults, each veined with mould, or sigh and hiss, insist it is your right or mine.   Yes, cloth covers but black and white cannot blot out red – bruises blush pink on thinned wrists. Serpents twist, convince with their forked-tongues   promising nothing but poison. I will suck it from every inflicted wound, by-pass your face to spit the … Continued Read more

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